Those Winter Sundays By Robert Hayden
Prayer for Fathers God you are the giver of all life, human and divine. Bless our father. May he be the best of teachers for his children, bearing witness to the faith by what he says and does, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen
Youth by James Wright
His song remains secret.
He worked too hard to read books.
He never heard how Sherwood Anderson
Got out of it, and fled to Chicago, furious to free himself
From his hatred of factories.
My father toiled fifty years
At Hazel-Atlas Glass,
Caught among girders that smash the kneecaps
Of dumb honyaks.
Did he shudder with hatred in the cold shadow of grease?
Maybe. But my brother and I do know
He came home as quiet as the evening.
He will be getting dark, soon,
And loom through new snow.
I know his ghost will drift home
To the Ohio River, and sit down, alone,
Whittling a root.
He will say nothing.
The waters flow past, older, younger
Than he is, or I am.
The Gift by Li-Young Lee
To pull the metal splinter from my palm my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.
I can’t remember the tale, but hear his voice still, a well of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands, two measures of tenderness he laid against my face, the flames of discipline he raised above my head. Had you entered that afternoon you would have thought you saw a man planting something in a boy’s palm, a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy you would have arrived here, where I bend over my wife’s right hand.
Look how I shave her thumbnail down so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father took my hand like this, and I did not hold that shard between my fingers and think, Metal that will bury me, christen it Little Assassin, Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry, Death visited here!
I did what a child does when he’s given something to keep. I kissed my father.