Hard Work – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

VJs Weekly Challenge 40 – Things My Father Said



Photo: dwphoto.com.au


Hard Work

How to describe,
what to say of it all,
what comes as I remember
that his fists talked more than his jaw?
The tears he wept when he broke things
that mattered to the heart,
recompense so cloying
nothing could repair,
he was battered by birth and by life
he knew little of China or Morocco
but he knew that the coal that he shovelled
wasn’t anything of him,
though he never felt devalued
cos’ he’d say:
“Hard work never did anyone any harm.”
Yet it’s understatedly hard when
you love who hurts,
and that’s the real work of life;
it’s years now since he’s been gone
and my thoughts are more sober now,
I miss him a lot for the good things
and the occasional reactive quip:
“Don’t worry son, worry never achieves anything.”
and, in spite of everything,
I’ve discovered that’s true.

©Paul Vincent Cannon


Paul, pvcann.com


Filed under Free Verse, life, poem, relationship

57 responses to “Hard Work – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

  1. So poignant. Our feelings are never one way or the other, and yes to love and forgive is work. Sounds like his words stood you well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. there’s the undying love for the father, though flawed the son sees his heart beneath the coal dust and crust, then there’s also the sadness that stains your lines, a sadness from a son’s heart wishing things could have been better and happier for dad. any story about a dad is precious to me for I loved mine so much. I love this poem Paul, so well written

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so powerful and moving, Paul. Your vulnerability, his vulnerability, so beautifully expressed.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Very Good one Sir,thanks for writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A painful, but brilliant write, Paul. Culling the good from the bad is no easy task.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Paul, what a beautiful sharing about your dad. I really am moved. Thank you. Blessings to you, and to his Soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ennle Madresan

    Your poems are ever beautiful, even when gut-wrenchingly hard to think about…they trigger so much. Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “His fists talked more than his jaw” an angry man for sure. Glad you could find some good!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A very touching poem, Paul! I can feel the son’s longing for his father. I can relate because I feel that sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wise words from your dad, Paul. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A portrait well told of a man of his era – fists at the ready, sorrow for what he has broken, purpose in hard labour. I was reminded of my father.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ilonapulianauskaite

    Powerful poem🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. wow says so much …

    We all have a mix of good and bad but as children we experience a very different reality to others who knew them. Hard to write but does it get any easier once they’ve died?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh my. So wrenching. It takes time to get to the place you are at with this subject… Such a powerful piece of writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. A difficult poem, but hopeful . From reading your work, you have clearly astopped the cycle of violence that you grew up with. So often it seems “like father, like son” is spoken as a passive way of giving up on personal growth from generation to generation. So I say this not in a flip way at all but with a bit more hope for the world: Good on ya! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: To All Aspiring Dads – One Woman's Quest II

  17. lync56

    Wow well done in writing something so close to home and holding such deep emotion – a wonderfully raw poem giving us a glimpse into this world


    Liked by 2 people

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