26 November 2010

The Red Foundation

[ For My Father ]

It lies in undergrowth
surrounded by pines
oaks and weeds
blocks of red concrete
haphazard, rough
his childhood home
his foundation.

He stands facing
remnants of memories
saying, 'this was the kitchen'
'there was the path to the river'
he points and adds,
'I think the company store stood there
 and the mine was down the road'.

Recollections skim like clouds
across patriarchal eyes
tousle-haired boy at play
swimming in the Allegheny
somber-eyed boy
staring at his father
lying on that kitchen floor
from which he never rose.

He shrugs and says, 'Oh well, that's life'
turns to walk away
the little boy
now the last of fifteen
to the weight
of passing years,
he is my red foundation.


  1. Unfortunately, the kids of the nouvoriche have no red foundation and detest the things of the hand; unlike old-monied kids who at least have the remnants of noblesse oblige in their gene pool. Me, I was weaned on the shovel and the pick, hard hats and steel toed shoes, morning breakfasts at the Little Chef with sooty burly men who worked eleven to seven and liked it best because no white hated bosses were around to pester them. But, those were the days when Lukens Steel ran full and the owner’s son was sure to walk the plant at least once a week and thank the men who made him rich.

  2. Theodore:
    I actually can remember my father mentioning "white-hatted bosses" in his stories. Being the youngest in his family, he never had to work in the mines, but I've heard stories all my life about his father and brothers in the coal mines along the Allegheny.
    Thanks for your comment once again.:)

  3. Incredible tribute to your father...memorable the voices that speak of so much...struggles, and the happy...it all goes hand in hand really when thought through. I still remember many things passed along to me from grandparents. Your "vivid" writing..I'm not sure I could say quite enough...remarkable!