Happy Father’s Day

My father at Annapolis

Weekends, my dad plowed 
through paperwork, pruned trees,
tinkered with the mower, fixed 
bicycles, toasters, skinned knees. 
I never thanked him.

Dark winter mornings,
I’d wake to hail pinging
on the window and find 
him gone for work.

My long silence followed his
late nights at the legislature,
his eternal naval reserve weeks.
Well I knew, well I learned, 
of love’s endless, lonely hours.

Copyright 2021 Brenda Davis Harsham

Notes: Happy Father’s Day to my dad, to whom I dedicate the above poem, My Long Silence, and for whom my appreciation grows and grows now that I’m parenting myself. Happy Father’s Day to my husband. And to all the many wonderful dads out there. I wrote this after reading Robert Hayden’s wonderful poem:

Those Winter Sundays
— Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueblack cold
Then with cracked hands that ached
From labor in the weekday weather made
Banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
And slowly I would rise and dress,
Fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him
Who had driven out the cold
And polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
Of love’s austere and lonely offices?

16 thoughts on “Happy Father’s Day

  1. After reading your poems, I found myself thinking of all the ways my Dad loved me and his family, that I did not comprehend at the time, did not appreciate. Now, I have children, and they can not understand or appreciate the depth of love and sacrifice either–and it helps to remember I was the same way. As they have their own children, they will look afresh at their past and realize, they are the beloved.

    Liked by 1 person

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