Poem of the Week, by Robert Hedin

Four spots open in each of our two remaining one-day workshops next month – I’d love to see you there. Check them out here.

Long ago, I went to look at a little house for sale on a lake. My realtor and I showed up at the appointed time but the homeowner was still there. She stood at an ironing board in the living room, ironing pieced quilt squares with a grim-faced focus that made me wary and quiet. Are you making a quilt, I ventured, but she said nothing.

The rooms of the house emanated sadness and fury. She’s getting divorced and she doesn’t want to and she has to sell her house and she doesn’t want to do that either, was the thought that came to me. I inclined my head in the direction of the ironing board and left the house in silence.

This poem makes me think about the wild, silent grief and rage of that long-ago woman. It makes me think about what we’re really doing when we do the things we do.

Raising the Titanic, by Robert Hedin

I spent the winter my father died down in the basement,
under the calm surface of the floorboards, hundreds

of little plastic parts spread out like debris
on the table. And for months while the snow fell

and my father sat in the big chair by the Philco dying,
I worked my way up deck by deck, story by story,

from steerage to first class, until at last it was done,
stacks, deck chairs, all the delicate rigging.

And there it loomed, a blazing city of the dead.
Then painted the gaping hole at the waterline

and placed my father at the railings, my mother
in a lifeboat pulling away from the wreckage.

For more information about Robert Hedin, please check out his website.

Words by Winter: my podcast


  1. Mary · October 23, 2021

    Wow! Thank you Alison. Your ironing board poem is incubating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alisonmcghee · October 23, 2021

    So glad you liked it!


  3. Jinx · October 24, 2021

    Your words with the ironing board and the sad lady ironing a quilt painted a picture.

    And the poem made me wonder and realize what I do.


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