From the June, 2003 issue of Touchstone
The Austere Offices of Manhood by Louis R. Tarsitano

The Austere Offices of Manhood

Louis R. Tarsitano on the Labors of Christian Fathers

My literature students read a poem called “Those Winter Sundays,” by Robert Hayden. It begins with a description of the writer’s father getting up by himself on Sundays and making the fire, “with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather.” Called when the house was warm, the writer would get dressed,

. . . 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 o . . .


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