Supple pink lips stretch boldly
towards a breathless,
iron-streaked sky to capture slender morsels
What haunting songs will make
their indelible marks
on this child’s untouched life? Soon, time
In July, I wrote a short poem entitled Household Songs. A few weeks later I wrote another poem in the same format and ended up naming it Household Songs: II because at the time, I couldn’t think of a better name for it. I have now decided to expand those pieces into a longer narrative poem which will consist of thirty short sections. Household Songs is about the life of Joseph Clarence Strauss, who was born at his father’s homestead in 1867 in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.
There are two elements of this poem that are not fiction. The homestead in question is modeled after an abandoned two-story home–built in 1860–that is roughly a ten minute drive from my childhood home. In 1865, a Thomas Strauss did in fact purchase that house as well as a grist mill that was on the property, however Joseph Clarence Strauss is merely a figment of my imagination. That house has always fascinated me, even to this day. I have often wondered what its walls would say if they could talk and so for me, the Strauss home seemed like fitting subject material from which I could construct a longer poem.
The respective sections of Household Songs depict a moment from each year of Joseph’s life, in chronological order. I intend to post one section every week.