Poets’ Corner: Feela For Father’s Day

To honor the memory of his father on Father’s Day, David Feela choose to continue a tradition scholars say might have emerged from Babylonian ruins, where upon a 4,000 years ago, a boy named Elmesu carved a message of good health and long life to his dad on a card made out of clay.

David Feela

David Feela

As for the modern history of the holiday, one theory holds it originated centuries later and closer to home with a lady named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd, a loving daughter from Spokane, Washington.

Dodd wanted to honor her father for raising five children and newborn with love and care after the death of his wife in childbirth. Spokane celebrated its first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. In 1924, Calvin Coolidge weighed in to “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.” In 1966, Lyndon Johnson made it all official, signing a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Sonora Smart Dodd was honored for her contribution at the World’s Fair in Spokane in 1974.

And Telluride Inside… and Out honors David’s moving words here:


The Closet

In the many arms my father wore

I remember hiding,

though my mother had better things to do,

until my sister just quit looking,

until the house grew still

and all I could hear was my heart.

The closet kept the darkness

confined, where I needed it

gathered around me like a cloak.

There I could touch

binoculars that once belonged

to a Nazi, or shake

wrapped gifts whose day

had not yet arrived.

In a crowd of feet

I sat untrodden,

under a cold light-bulb I ran my oily finger

along the blued barrel of a shotgun.

The closet played the movie of my past

on a hundred paper photograph screens,

and when I placed the family album

back on its high shelf

I knew that I contained multitudes.

I remember hiding in the closet

under a dozen hats,

in a nest of pillows and blankets,

until the sound of my name turned soft

and the moon came out from behind a cloud.



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David Feela

David Feela

David Feela, recently retired from a 27-year teaching gig, was a “Colorado Voice” for the Denver Post. He worked for over a decade as a contributing editor and columnist at Inside/Outside Southwest magazine and now contributes occasional pieces to High Country News’s “Writers on the Range”, as well as a monthly piece for the Four Corners Free Press and the Durango Telegraph. David’s first full-length book of poetry, The Home Atlas, was released in 2009 through WordTech. A book of his essays, How Delicate These Arches: Footnotes From the Four Corners (Raven’s Eye Press) is now available.

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