Here is a poem about a father for Father’s Day:
My Papa’s Waltz
Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz” from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. Copyright 1942 by Hearst Magazines, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.
Here is another one:
My Father’s Diary
BY SHARON OLDS
Source: Poetry (July 1998).
And, one more: (If you want to listen to this one, go to this website: http://www.ibiblio.org/ipa/poems/komunyakaa/my_father’s_love_letters.php)
My Father’s Love Letters
On Fridays he’d open a can of Jax
After coming home from the mill,
& ask me to write a letter to my mother
Who sent postcards of desert flowers
Taller than men. He would beg,
Promising to never beat her
Again. Somehow I was happy
She had gone, & sometimes wanted
To slip in a reminder, how Mary Lou
Williams’ “Polka Dots & Moonbeams”
Never made the swelling go down.
His carpenter’s apron always bulged
With old nails, a claw hammer
Looped at his side & extension cords
Coiled around his feet.
Words rolled from under the pressure
Of my ballpoint: Love,
Baby, Honey, Please.
We sat in the quiet brutality
Of voltage meters & pipe threaders,
Lost between sentences . . .
The gleam of a five-pound wedge
On the concrete floor
Pulled a sunset
Through the doorway of his toolshed.
I wondered if she laughed
& held them over a gas burner.
My father could only sign
His name, but he’d look at blueprints
& say how many bricks
Formed each wall. This man,
Who stole roses & hyacinth
For his yard, would stand there
With eyes closed & fists balled,
Laboring over a simple word, almost
Redeemed by what he tried to say.
Not really the usual Father’s Day Fathers, right? You know, the “holidads” that want things like golf clubs or a tie or power tools for their special day.
Really, did that guy ever exist?
Not in my house. My dad’s a lot of things, but not that.
My dad played a game with us called “Hibernating Bears”. It wasn’t as much fun as it sounds. He took us to caves and Indian burial mounds and the dump. He had a short wave radio that he never let us touch, but we could listen to it with him if he was in the room. He gave me a wooden nickel and a real sapphire necklace that was on a real gold chain that Mom said was too delicate for a little girl of my age. He was late to my high school graduation and never remembers the names of any of my friends, except for the ones he thinks are hot. He loves Willie Nelson and Randy Newman and Ofra Haza and midgets. Some of his jokes are terrible, but some are HI-larious with a capital HI. When we were kids, he would leave a little card on the kitchen table with the latest installment of a comic strip he wrote and drew for us. We read it when we ate breakfast, and sometimes it had games we could play or questions to answer.
These days he emails all sorts of stuff. Sometimes he sends things that infuriate me, which is why he does it, evene though I have told him to quit. He sends me lots of cool photography things. He sent me this: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/fuck-for-forest-documentary-sees-failure-in-carnal-idealism-a-905486.html and this: He also writes about stuff that happens during his day, which I save in a special file. Here is what he said after a recent, brief hospital stay (don’t worry – he’s fine!): “I have heard bad things about Medical City, but this is the 2nd time I have been in their ER. It’s ok, however, they have remarkably unabsorbent toilet paper in their restrooms. Sick people deserve better.” Quite the passionate activist, he is. He has two cats, and one of them sleeps with his paws around Dad’s neck. I don’t think he likes dogs, but he’s nice to mine. When my mom goes out of town, he invites all the ladies he knows over for a fried-chicken-slumber party and he smokes in the house, even though he’s not supposed to.
I could go on and on.
Sometimes we get into huge political arguments or he tells me (for a long time) about an episode of some tv show like Frasier that he’s just discovered. He doesn’t like to spend money on ANYTHING and does absolutely NO exercise. He adores his grandchildren. He knows tons of stuff about tons of stuff, and when he was 15 he left home and moved to another continent and lived in a commune.
Because of my dad, I have a wide variety of interests and sometimes an obsessive nature. I have a broader understanding of many things because he has taught me to seek them out, or has pointed out things that I have missed. He was my first guide to music and the first person I wanted to be proud of me.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Your present is in the mail. Just kidding. I appreciate you, you know, because you are so who you are. I love you. Here are some cigarettes, and some adorable baby animals, and a lady with really big boobies, and a big kiss from me.