dad wore hats

August 30, 2006

not when he should have

on a cold bright day
he would yell to us
where is your hat?
while the wind played
in his hair.

nor the way he should have

it was always
crunched atop his head
by a nephew or daughter
running around our backyard
at a picnic.

nor what he should have

into the dewy night
the adults would sing
heads touching in harmony
dad smoking a Chesterfield
wearing a bonnet.

20 Responses to “dad wore hats”

  1. fencer Says:

    Ah, great poem…

    Can’t say too much about it, just real.

    Regards

  2. Jules Says:

    This made me smile -thanks

  3. qazse Says:

    thank you both for taking the time to read and to comment. I am glad it felt “real” and brought about a smile. And now I also smile, knowing I’m a lucky man to have readers like you.

  4. twitches Says:

    This makes me think of Billy Collins’s poem:

    “The Death of the Hat”

    Once every man wore a hat.

    In the ashen newsreels,
    the avenues of cities
    are broad rivers flowing with hats.

    The ballparks swelled
    with thousands of strawhats,
    brims and bands,
    rows of men smoking
    and cheering in shirtsleeves.

    Hats were the law.
    They went without saying.
    You noticed a man without a hat in a crowd.

    You bought them from Adams or Dobbs
    who branded your initials in gold
    on the inside band.

    Trolleys crisscrossed the city.
    Steamships sailed in and out of the harbor.
    Men with hats gathered on the docks.

    There was a person to block your hat
    and a hatcheck girl to mind it
    while you had a drink
    or ate a steak with peas and a baked potato.
    In your office stood a hat rack.

    The day war was declared
    everyone in the street was wearing a hat.
    And they were wearing hats
    when a ship loaded with men sank in the icy sea.

    My father wore one to work every day
    and returned home
    carrying the evening paper,
    the winter chill radiating from his overcoat.

    But today we go bareheaded
    into the winter streets,
    stand hatless on frozen platforms.

    Today the mailboxes on the roadside
    and the spruce trees behind the house
    wear cold white hats of snow.

    Mice scurry from the stone walls at night
    in their thin fur hats
    to eat the birdseed that has spilled.

    And now my father, after a life of work,
    wears a hat of earth,
    and on top of that,
    a lighter one of cloud and sky–a hat of wind.

  5. qazse Says:

    thank you
    I love it, especially the end stanza.
    I saw him speak at College Misericordia which is a mile from our home.
    He was funny in a Bob Newhart kind of way ( I had originally typed “kund of way”, just for your edification) (glad I didn’t mispell edification).

    Some other poet is the laureate now. They must word wrestle for it.

  6. Soulless Says:

    Not when, nor the way, nor what, he should have. ^_^ The whole piece nudged a trip down memory lane; and the last stanza had me chuckling in utter glee, imagining the bonnet. Hee.

    Thank you for sharing this. Cheers.

  7. qazse Says:

    and cheers to you!

    I am happy it took you back. There is much to look back on and be thankful for.

    My quick visit to your site impressed me. I will visit soon.


  8. This is very nice. I like it better than the Billy Collins poem.

  9. gel Says:

    Lovely poem. It sounds like you miss your dad.

  10. fondakowski Says:

    What a lovely, pure, easy poem. I love reading such smooth works – they touch me in a very nature-poetic way, and leave me feeling a great bit of serenity. Thanks!

  11. liz elayne Says:

    oh goodness…this poem is beautiful. truly. thank you for sharing it today…it has filled me up in the best of ways.

  12. qazse Says:

    Dear: Square T, gel, fonda-k, liz-e, L.MNQ., and z-freek (sounds like a hip hop law firm),

    Thank you for all the love…

    PS to gel: yes, I do. Is your dad still with you?

  13. zaphodfreek Says:

    Quote: “Dear: Square T, gel, fonda-k, liz-e, L.MNQ., and z-freek (sounds like a hip hop law firm),”

    Hahahahahahahah.
    😀

  14. qazse Says:

    thanks z-freek!

  15. Dana Says:

    This is great. My dad wore hats, and not the way he should have. This really spoke to me.

  16. qazse Says:

    thank you Dana! I’m glad it spoke to you…good memories I trust.

  17. Dennis Says:

    A lovely reminder of days past and of fathers in general. Hats said so much about the person sporting it, and your poem reminds me of it all. Thanks!


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