I Wonder if He Knew?

This being the last week of the First Annual Thursday Doors Writing Challenge, and my being the host of Thursday Doors, it would seem that I should participate in this challenge. On the other hand, participating in a writing challenge isn’t something I normally do. For those of you that know me well, you know that writing poetry is something I certainly don’t normally do. But that is what I’ve done.

In case you think that this might not be Dan, let me offer a little backstory (see, now you know it’s me). The doors I offered for inspiration when the challenge began were from the Commons at the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. The Commons is a three-story great hall in that grand gothic building.

Many of you know about the Commons because I’ve featured it here before. Some of you also know that when I was in graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, almost all of my classes were in the Cathedral, including some in project management. What most of you do not know is that my great grandfather was a construction foreman when the Cathedral was being built. Hence, my contribution to the challenge.

Medieval setting for 21st century study.

I wonder if he knew
If my Great granddad could see
Do you think he understood?
He was building this for me

I wonder if he knew
Five decades since his finish
His daughter’s youngest grandson
Daydreaming, would bear witness

I wonder if he knew
In this epic hall I’d roam
Studying his accomplishments
While preparing for my own

I wonder if he knew
While foreman on this project
I would sit at this table
And study that same subject

I wonder if he knew
Though his knowing would seem strange
That inside these gothic doors
His great grandson’s life would change

83 comments

  1. I am in awe. And so envious. I went to Purdue, where the campus style was deemed “early factory.” Of course I would get no studying done in your cathedral; I’d be staring at my surroundings. The connection to your great-grandfather makes those arches all the more inspiring. And who’s to say that he didn’t know? Your poem asks an eternal question, as do those arches. Very nice indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was so hard to study in there. I was a commuter student, so I had hours between classes. I would sit at a study desk on the perimeter of that great space. It was impossible not to look out and daydream every now and then.

      Thanks for your comment. Maybe he did know.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Outstanding, Dan! I am very impressed. Not only would I have loved getting in education in these architectural surroundings, but also to have the ability to write poetry as well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks GP. I enjoy poetry, but I struggle when trying to write it. I figured my own inspiration could help me. Studying in that building was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Your beloved Cathedral has brought forth another of your talents Dan, poetry. I am so impressed. Lovely tribute to your Great granddad. Yes, I have no doubt he knew you would grace this magnificent building and that he would be very proud of your achievements.
    Ginger

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Ginger. I never knew him, but I think he must have known he was building something special. I’d like to think he hoped someone from his family would benefit from his work.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan–this is wonderful! Faith’s photo from the 2nd floor study area is beautiful. Is this where she gave you a birthday present to a couple years ago? Yeah, I was confused when you said you were writing poetry. But when you said ‘backstory’–I knew! 😅

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Lois. These are from a trip where we visited the Cathedral specifically to get some photos. I asked Faith to take these pictures because as often as I had tried, I could never capture the feel of this space. I figured the backstory would convince people it was really me.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a Lovely poetic tribute to your great grandfather Dan. The building is magnificent, reaching to the skies in such direct lines. I would have loved studying in there. The inside reminds me of Hogwarts. 🙂👏🏻👏🏻Kudos to him and to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think I would be too busy engrossed in the surroundings to hear a professors lecture 🥴Wow, I am very much impressed.  So much detail!  Did you ever go to the top of it?

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ahh, Dan, what a surprise! :) And so well done too. I can feel your pride. This building must have had proper impact. And what a glorious one it is. I can’t help but wonder whether those fireplaces help much or does it get really cold in the winter?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you liked this Manja. I sat around one of those fireplaces in January. There was a roaring fire and it was toasty near the fireplace but not much farther out. But it was beautiful.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh my goodness. This is an incredible post, Dan. The photos, the story, and your beautiful poem — all extraordinary. Thank you for sharing something this dear, this amazing with all of us. God bless you and your family! Have a wonderful weekend. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  9. We have been to that Cathedral. It is quite beautiful! Took a picture of one of the doors to post in Thursday Doors and never did. Your poem was wonderful. It came from your heart and that is where rhythm resides.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. If you’ve been there, you know how hard it is to capture in a picture. It’s a remarkable feeling stepping inside the Commons. If you ever want to post that picture, please do.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a magnificent building! Even I could learn something in such a place. Wonderful pictures, Dan and Faith! and such a GOOD, GOOD poem. Oh, my heart! <3 This post is just all kinds of brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Marian. The building was good for daydreaming. The upstairs classrooms were as boring as your local DMV, but the lower level rooms were difficult to be in and pay attention..

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Dan – congratulations I say … but how fabulous to know your Great GrandDad built the cathedral … amazing and then you, his grandson (a few generations later) studied there … and how fortuitous that your studies were mainly held in the Cathedral. Lovely poem – well done … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hilary. I was so lucky to have m out st of my classes in that building. I think I only had one class, in three semesters, in a different building. I had visited the cathedral many times (we took visiting relatives there). I never dreamed I’d spend so much time there.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Dan
    Love what you did for the writing challenge
    Be back to add more
    – but is it okay if I ha e my entry in a little later today?
    Not sure if the challenge ends at noon on Saturday?
    I have it outlined in my mind but need to get the paint together – is this okay!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, Dan that was brilliant! I found it incredibly touching. My grandfather was an electrician and I stood in the building, the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff and saw his handiwork. This poem reminded me of that and has me in tears. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My goodness! That poem was deeply moving. For a door and history lover, this is a tribute to your great grandfather. Yes, I wonder if he knew. The photos are as beautiful as the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Somehow I didn’t find this until today, Dan. But WordPress continues to find new ways to baffle me… Anyhow, it’s such a lovely poem. You know I find this location inspirational. It’s easy to see that it inspires you too. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Teagan. WordPress has been messing with people like crazy. I wish they could figure this out. I’m glad you liked the poem. I struggle with poetry, but this was easier than most. I was so lucky to be in school in that building.

      Liked by 1 person

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