In Robert Coffin's poem "The Secret Heart," the narrator is remembering his father. As an adult, the narrator thinks back to his childhood when his father would come to his bedroom and check on him at night. The narrator would be in between sleep and wakefulness but would see his father come in in the dark and light a match, so that he could make sure his son was sleeping peacefully. The lit match, with the father's hands cupped around it, gave off a vision of a heart on fire. The narrator obviously loved and admired his father. He could see in his father's face, lit up by the match, how much his father loved him in return. To him, his father's "hands held up the sun."