The Man of the House

A poem by the turn of the century Irish poet Katherine Tynan

Joseph, honored from sea to sea,
This is your name that pleases me,
“Man of the House”

I see you rise at the dawn and light
The fire and blow till the flame is bright.

I see you take the pitcher and carry
The deep well-water for Jesus and Mary.

You knead the corn for the bread so fine,
Gather them grapes from the hanging vine.

There are little feet that are soft and slow,
Follow you wherever you go.

There’s a little face at your workshop door,
A little one sits down on your floor:

Holds His hands for the shaving curled,
The soft little hands that have made the world.

Mary calls you: the meal is ready:
You swing the child to your shoulder steady.

I see your quiet smile as you sit
And watch the little Son thrive and eat.

The vine curls by the window space,
The wings of angels cover the face.

Up in the rafters, polished and olden,
There’s a Dove that broods and his wings are golden.

You who kept Them through shine and storm,
A staff, a shelter kindly and warm,

Father of Jesus, husband of Mary,
Hold us your lilies for sanctuary!

Joseph, honored from sea to sea,
Guard mine and my own roof-tree,
“Man of the House”



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