Saturday, February 17, 2007

Rags of Our Fathers

Dad once modeled for Carhart. Or was it Levi's? Maybe Walls. Czeslaw Milosz, in his poem "Should, Should Not," says, "A man should not love the moon/ An axe should not lose weight in his hand." The sun on the fence behind him and the chopped branches beneath his boots prove Dad was getting off to a bright start. Milosz, had he by some strange twist of fate been watching this sight from the kitchen window, would have raised his owl brows, and puffed his pipe in approval. I can also imagine Milosz throwing open the window and yelling at Dad to get back to work. "Should, Should Not," in its entirety, appears below:

A man should not love the moon.
An axe should not lose weight in his hand.
His garden should smell of rotting apples
And grow a fair amount of nettles.
A man when he talks should not use words that are dear
to him,
Or split open a seed to find out what is inside it.
He should not drop a crumb of bread, or spit in the fire
(So at least I was taught in Lithuania).
When he steps on marble stairs,
He may, that boor, try to chip them with his boot
As a reminder that the stairs will not last forever.

1 comment:

Damien said...

i'm pretty sure i took this picture. young men do not get much more handsome than this dude.