To those that raised me - Christine Breckler

Creative Writing Awards 2024: Poetry Winner

My father was a maker,
A carpenter, a wood crafter, a rough hardened stone breaker,
Who tore down and rebuilt our house so many times as
He used to let me hold his tools, with hands too small to understand the load and labor he put into the
heart of our hearth and home to make it a home because,

My father, he used to put me on up on his shoulders,
To make me taller,
To help me feel older than the sequential snapshots of a short life I’d led,
For a future that in the bigger picture plays
Like parades I only wish I could relive days
Beneath the bustle of life and that race to the moon and back.

My father was a pinnacle,
A mountain peak, a monument, a masterwork whose flaw seemed infallible,
To the eyes of a child who tiptoed every day in handyman’s work boots
Trailing the memory of a man
As he painted the portrait of a family he founded
In whole rich foundations of vulnerable worth.
And my father with frame, set aside my mother the earth.

My mother was a provider,
A seam maker, a match lighter, a rocketeer
As she rocked her way in triumphant strides

Who entertained childish delusion in disposition as she opened the world
And wonder to the imaginative invoice for happiness and youth catered to creation because

My mother, her middle name is Hope,
Passed in legacy from a life
Before her recommence of motherhood and matrimony,
For sacrifice and security that sheltered me
In homage to the women way gone, and the woman I could be
Like her happiness worn on clay-stained sleeves.

My mother was a giver,
A gift, a guardian, a woman too gentle,
To the ambition of a child who carried her oversized bookbag about,
As she tuned the music and magic that sang out
Mr. Blue Sky on a Saturday night before we sat to enjoy the light of summertime fireworks and sweet
serenity of sleep.

Where my mother was the glue, my parents were two,
Built to lecture their lessons in giving’s that turned grievous.
In adolescence, as I found walls made from stone were actually made from sand,
those cracks formed black and white wishfulness.
fettered to grey suspensions.

My father, he stumbled with his timer where
My mother, she stretched herself to thin.

And I fought the change, to finally understand
The most important lesson they never meant to teach.
That my parents, they were human.

My father, he cracked beneath the world
Like Atlas, even with all his might
My mother, she treaded into deep water,
So far down her enraptured despair as
They brought their best face
To face a future of uncertain fortunes,
The most important lesson they meant to teach me
That I was human.

And even with one half missing,
The remarkable resilience of one woman inspires me,
Just as one man told me
To give my absolute
Before the brush of times arrow catches light
To find and letter the story I carve into stone from the home they gave,
With love, to those who raised me.

Scroll to Top