Promenades and Hammers


He died because he wanted to dance.
Had a girlfriend named Mary, love of second chances;

(Gran left him for a banker years ago). They loved
square dancing, and he had those Dougherty knees,

perhaps from kneeling on the job for all those years.
He built houses, duplexes, furniture, dollhouse tiers.

A tiny doll cabinet, which now holds books. My heart.
He went in for a little tweak, with the promise of new start,

no more pain; came out different. Less. Shrinking. Weak.
I think of him, when I listen to my own knees creak,

when I smell the scent of wood and think of good men who
just want to cut a rug, hold a hand, shape something new.

At dVerse Poetics today, Kim asks us to write about a craftsman or artisan,
with an added challenge. Come play! 



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18 Responses to Promenades and Hammers

  1. Iris says:

    So much love for this; you will never know. You found my weak spot: grandparents.

  2. maria says:

    “when I smell the scent of wood and think of good men who
    just want to cut a rug, hold a hand, shape something new.”

    Beautiful and deep! ❤

  3. kim881 says:

    Oh, De, you’ve brought us another wonderful real character! Grandparents are special and if you have something they made, that’s a huge bonus.I love the way that people in the past could make anything and everything: ‘He built houses, duplexes, furniture, dollhouse tiers’. You got me with those last lines:
    ‘when I smell the scent of wood and think of good men who
    just want to cut a rug, hold a hand, shape something new.’

  4. Misky says:

    This pulled at my heart. A very loving tribute.

  5. Sabio Lantz says:

    Tried to get the story together — seems so fun. What are Dougherty knees? Grandpa needed heart surgery to dance but came out weaker after surgery? The rest flowed — an enticing story. Maybe a great Haibun in months to come.d

  6. Love the many different stories coming together in the cabinet and you knees… such a difference with a banker i guess.

  7. Bryan Ens says:

    Love the mingling of stories. Sorrow and pain, joy and love are all evident in your piece.

  8. Grace says:

    Love the scent of word and the remembrance of those who gave us their hands, hearts and treasures!

  9. lillian says:

    Beautiful tribute.
    When I was in third grade, there was a contest in my Catholic grade school….to build a manger for a Natifity set. It was common knowledge that dads would be doing the work (except for Michael Teakampe who brought in a taped cardboard creation). My dad had a “workshop” in our basement. He made a patter, cut the plywood, put it together and stained it. I did not win….but my mother had a manger for her Nativity scene until the day she died. My dad made one for my brother and I for our wedding gifts. Today, my son has the original and my daughter has mine….in both cases, the little statues are in sad but loved shape, a baby jesus with a stubbed nose…and both still have the original straw my dad got from somewhere — which was then divided for the wedding gifts. You’ve brought back all these memories — and I thank you. Special gifts from the hands of special men. 🙂

    • whimsygizmo says:

      Oh, Lillian. Thank you so much for sharing this. My own nativity contains some of the straw from the one of my childhood, as well as featuring a tattered brick-a-brack angel ornament from my childhood tree, and the angel my brother and I took turns putting on top (me odd years because I was born in ’69, him evens because he was born in ’72.) The stable itself is something my husband bought for a church prop (part of his job as creative director is to procure props), and the figures are a set my mama bought me one year, a replica similar to the one my parents put out each year. There is also a mismatched wayward camel that my great-grandmother brought back from one of her many trips abroad, before she died.

      I have often told my husband that in these modern days when photos are all “in the cloud” and so much of what we value is in cyber world (writings, pictures, even memories), the only nonliving thing I would want to get out of the house in a fire is this cabinet. There are so few “heirlooms” anymore. It makes me a little sad.

      • lillian says:

        These are the pieces of our lives we cherish and can pass on to the next generation. 🙂 Hard drives will be erased, computer batteries die….but these cherished pieces of substance can be treasured and caref for 🙂

  10. whimsygizmo says:

    Thank you all so much for your kind comments. I’m thankful to Kim for this prompt. ❤

  11. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Many of us wrote about woodworkers; yes, I had a grandfather who was an artist and outdoorsman, and time with him was always golden. Sense memories are profound & immediate, especially the olfactory ones. I love being in a woodshed/shop or a lumber yard. almost as much as enjoying the old paper smell in used book stores.

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