Tag Archives: Father

ROUND TABLES

ROUND TABLES

He loved his neighbors, but not out loud

(Only by default could we tell if he was proud
men did not hug their friends or children then)

There were no women in the bar
and all the tables round and small
heavy with ashtray and pilsner draft
where they talked code till closing time

Politics of any stripe meant you are my brother
The weather, whatever the weather
meant I love you too

WORKING WITH FATHER

WORKING WITH FATHER

In the short days of a long winter
we sort nuts, bolts, and washers
against the busy days of summer

Place them in well marded bins
accompanied always by his mentor’s
Never waste five dollars worth of time
looking for a five cent bolt

The 9/16th fine-threads do not go in
with the regular or coarse

When you’re four
it’s not hard to get up
at four to ride in the cattle
truck to the city with your dad
excitement keeps you awake all night

There are knots you need to know
reef, sheepshank, and the ever
popular bowline that can still
be undone even after looping
a red bull weighing a ton

Hook the twine around your
little finger just son, in a way
that I could never get,
three turns and knot
the gunny sack
in two seconds
flat

Heel that calf, or turn the herd
drive the truck at the perfect speed
to catch the combine
on the fly

There is a great deal of pleasure in
doing something right, when right
is the only way anything should
ever be done

But never far, even yet
from the red-black cloud
of doing it wrong

WORTH OF A MAN

WORTH OF A MAN

In my father’s mind
the worth of any man
was tied hand and foot to his work

The day he retired
to leave his ranch and his work
he was felled by a massive stroke

Every time I make enough money to quit
I hurry to lose it as fast as I can

And go right back to work to make it again
remembering what I learned from this man