Hewn Heart

“I always wanted to follow you, secretly see what “off to work” meant….” Wordle poem

Poem for Wordle #24

I always wanted to follow, secretly see what “off to work” meant.
Straining from the sofa, mother holding me still to comb my hair,
your silent face turned from a kiss, leaving, no expression, tan
overalls fading down our cobbled street.  Fearfully watching, “why can’t I go?”  whispered in steam on the window pane, your truck disappears
in a rumble of shifting gears, adventure, blue-black smoke.

But at night, with the 8 O’clock church bell, in your big chair, in blue glow,
it became clear. I sat in your lap and knew, by the hard hewn hands
that held me, what it all meant. Clued by the myriad white lines of your nails,
my fingers traced the cracks and cuts of your fingers, followed
the roadmap into your day. “Construction” you would say, for maybe
the thousandth time, “rough on the hands.” I looked into your eyes to see
the color of truth. Brown. “What did you make today, daddy?”    Silence. Another sip. “10-story building.  Downtown.”

Aah! All the color a 5-year-old needed to fill in logic, to join the dots of distance! All as you steadied beams, alone in a crew, the strongest,  eyes protected from sparks, a half circle of plastic shielding your sun-scorched face.  And again, you, the bravest, caution signs all around, moving
fearlessly, boring the orange-white flame through blue steel shanks,
another floor, a dozen grey beams, pouring white concrete mid-air,
building stories to remember what was lost.

TaraLinda 2011. version 4.

Author: tara linda

musician, poet, art and jewelry-maker

7 thoughts on “Hewn Heart”

  1. Thank you for taking the plunge at the Whirl. I read this through three times. The first time evoked the twin towers. The second time I got into the father-daughter story, he doesn’t have time, she sees him as her hero and protector. The third read brought home the story element. Your writing is rich with images, that final stanza is exquisite. I’m so happy that you found us.

    1. Thank you Brenda! for sponsoring the Wordles; it was time for me to stop spectating 😉
      And thank you for your 3 reads. This wordle felt like construction (a trade I am always in awe of), and it somehow morphed into a girl’s love of her father and his work. I started with the first couple of lines and jumped to the last, filling in between- something new for me, but very gratifying.

      Beyond the daughter’s admiration, there is this allusion (in the back of my mind anyway) of the unsettling silence adults can carry with them day and night (lurking demons, something lost?), keeping children and others forever at bay. Work is just a distraction. Meanwhile, any morsel of attention or psuedo-attention a child can get, colors their world, makes them happy, for a while.
      I look forward to more, and promise the next one to be lighter!! 😉
      Thank you!!

  2. You have portrayed a wondrous relationship between a 5-year-old and her daddy, a relationship that probably ripened in a marinade of grace and mercy and love through the years. A wonder-filled poem!

    My Wordle 24

  3. I loved this. It flowed so well and beautifully told the story of a young child wondering what daddy did each day when he ‘went to work’.
    It also reminded me of the times I sat on my dad’s lap and felt his hard hands after he came back from working on building sites. His stories always made his job seem so adventurous.

  4. Welcome to the wordle, it is great fun, though I warn you if you are anything like me, you’ll get hooked! :-).

    I really enjoyed this, it was rich with images and with ‘story’ – I look forward to reading more from you.

    Good to meet you.
    Susannah x

  5. Beautiful with many tender moments shared in the family!! Dad’s are always held on a high pedestal by little girls and you have captured those endearing moments wonderfully!!

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