A House to Repair

by Ken Harnisch

I have a house to repair

The foundation is old and the
Base is strong, so there’ll
Be little to trowel there

It’s the rest of the place that needs
Work and care. Attention to detail
And also, a keen ear for the creaks
And groans which winnow through
All houses that settle over time.

The windows need washing and the siding
Should be replaced. I don’t need ladders
And awls and saws, however. Perhaps
A stray kiss here, a kind word there
Will do the trick. A hug instead of a hammer.

Perhaps, more than anything, an
Appreciation for what I have
More than what I thought
I never did.

I will re-work the steps
That lead to the bedroom.
My footsteps go too lightly
There and sometimes not at all

I will re-do the lighting in the hall
It’s apparent I can’t see anymore
Or these rose-colored glasses
Obscure true luminescence
When it’s shining in my eyes

No need to say it out loud
Or unfold blueprints on
The table out on the deck
The best repairs are the silent ones
The ones that have no motive
Or design, except to know
That something is amiss

And it’s more than a nail
And it’s bigger than a leak
And it’s colder than any
Wintry draft that ever
Snuck through a pinhole
In the big bay window.

Getting to see that much
Was half the battle
Getting my sleeves rolled up
And doing the work
Is, as Yogi Berra once said,
The other ninety percent.

I have a house to repair.


Posted on 11/01/2011
Copyright © 2021 Ken Harnisch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Alison McKenzie on 11/01/11 at 01:41 PM

Real or metaphor (or both), I like the perspective conveyed very much.

Posted by Kristine Briese on 11/01/11 at 04:14 PM

"A hug instead of a hammer." Wonderful, wonderful poem.

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 11/01/11 at 08:38 PM

...this just like so many poets. namely a coupla' masters....this is a gift to have read; must be nice to have written it; you weave a Thoreau-ness, frostian'feel'...ken, this was very top-notch.

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