A dear friend of mine and I were recently discussing some of the surprising educational blessings we received in high school in Hutchinson, Kansas. The music program was exceptional, with some truly dedicated teachers. (Thank you Jim Swiggart and Mike … the rest “Reciting The Hollow Men”
Yesterday, April 13th, was the birthday of poet Seamus Heaney. My father’s birthday is also this month and when I pulled this volume of Heaney’s poems off my bookshelf, I remembered that this was yet another gift of verse my dad had given to me a number of years ago.
Here’s a poem about fathers and sons. (My father is alive and well, despite what the sentiment of the verse implies.)
My father worked with a horse-plough, His shoulders globed like a full sail strung Between the shafts and the furrow. The horses strained at his clicking tongue.
As expert. He would set the wing And fit the bright steel-pointed sock. The sod rolled over without breaking. At the header, with a single pluck
Of reins, the sweating team turned round And back into the land. His eye Narrowed and angled at the ground, Mapping the furrow exactly.
I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake, Fell sometimes on the polished sod; Sometimes he rode me on his back Dipping and rising to his plod.
I wanted to grow up and plough, To close one eye, stiffen my arm. All I ever did was follow In his broad shadow round the farm.
I was a nuisance, tripping, falling, Yapping always. But today It is my father who keeps stumbling Behind me, and will not go away.
Two Poems from Dome of the Hidden Pavilion by James Tate
I just finished ‘Dome of the Hidden Pavilion by the late James Tate. Absolutely wonderful. Tate recounts experiences on the edge of absurdity but not so absurd you can’t … the rest “This is what happened…”