Reblog: Love’s Austere and Lonely Offices

Teacher Daddy

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?

Born in 1913, American poet Robert Hayden grew up in Detroit, where he had a tumultuous childhood, shuttled between the home of his parents, who separated around the time of his birth, and that of a foster family who lived next door. His foster parents had a contentious marriage, and the young Robert often…

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