You Were So Solid, Father ...
You were so solid, father, cold and raw
as these north winters, where your angry will
first hardened, as the earth when the long chill
deepens—as is this country's cruel law—
yet under trackless snow, without a flaw
covering meadow, road, and stubbled hill,
the springs and muffled streams were running
dark until spring came, and the awful thaw.
In your decay a gentleness appears
I hadn't guessed—when, gray as rotting snow,
propped in your chair, your face will run with
trying to speak, and your hand, stiff and slow,
will touch my child—who, sensing the cold years
in your eyes, cries until you let her go.
Word from the Hills, A Sonnet Sequence in Four
Movements, University of Georgia Press, ©
Originally printed in Sparrow.
Reprinted by permission
of the author.