Nice to Know I Wasn’t Invisible

Hayden.jpg I made the title of this post “Nice to Know I Wasn’t Invisible” to help myself remember that toward the end of my life I would like to write a book with that title. I was talking on Echo about high school and said this:

“I always thought I was mostly invisible in high school. I was distracted by so many things, and not very present. My parents divorced so I left school early and went to a job, had a boyfriend who was in college. But what little feedback I’ve gotten over the years has been mostly positive. Nice to know that I wasn’t invisible.”

The picture above is of the poet Robert Hayden. One of the characters in the always amazing Friday Night Lights quoted him last week. Then, whoever did the episode write-up on Television Without Pity said that the best Robert Hayden poem was Those Winter Sundays. I had to look and sure enough, it’s an unforgettable poem, and fits very nicely into my invisible theme. (I defy any dad to read it and not cry.)

Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “Nice to Know I Wasn’t Invisible

  1. Ah, how we overlook silent importance when we are young. ‘One day you will understand’ has taken on meaning beyond my wildest imagination (and truth be told, experiencing love as a parent broke the fog).

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