Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Love's austere and lonely offices"

Ours was a coal furnace. There being no son until the fifth child, it fell to me, after the metal bins were filled with ash, to help my father haul them out of the cellar and take them to the dump. But before they were ashes, he would get up in the middle of those cold winter nights to shovel coal into the furnace.And when he was recuperating from polio, it was my mother who carried out these "austere and lonely offices".

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? 


Friday, February 11, 2011

Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award

I'm thrilled to announce that I have won the 2010 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award for my poem, "Coming to Terms". The poem was chosen by final judge A. E. Stallings.  It will be published later this year in the literary journal, Measure (University of Evansville).

Information on the award is available here:


Saturday, February 5, 2011


Just a quick note to say I haven´t had regular access to the Internet for a while. We´ve been travelling around Uruguay and Argentina for the past several weeks. We met up with some of Hugo´s family members he hadn´t seen in over 50 years, we visited Rivera and Paysandú and for the past week have been in Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, and now in 25 de Mayo (near Saladillo). My sonnet sequence, Seven Deadly Sonnets, is progressing. I wrote the anger and sloth sonnets in January. Had some very good news from the University of Evansville . . . I´ll be back posting on a more regular basis when we get back to Canada mid-February. Love and Peace, Cathy