Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Father's Day Poem

I had the worst time finding a suitable Fathers' Day Poem.   It couldn't be smarmy (you know the poems…the father portrayed as this strong, silent, perfect person), it couldn't be funeral (that's a surprisingly large amount of poems about Fathers) and it couldn't be grim and dark.  It's not like you can't find plenty of that when looking for Mothers' Day Poems, but there are still the occasional poems that are beautiful without being saccharine.  I was so pleased when I found this poem.  It's by no means perfect, but there are no bitter undertones, and no smarmity.

Only a Dad

BY EDGAR ALBERT GUEST
Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.


I thought I would also quote this poem because it makes me laugh so much.

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head --
Do you think, at your age, it is right?

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door --
Pray, what is the reason for that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment -- one shilling a box --
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak --
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose --
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father, "Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you downstairs.


I'm thinking that maybe I need to sit down and write a really good Fathers' Day Poem.  I have my dad to thank for a lot of my love of reading.  He has never liked fiction, but he read lots of wonderful children's books to my brother and me.  I can still remember listening to him read and sobbing over Aslan's death in The Chronicles of Narnia.  It was my first experience of enjoying a sad part of a good book.  Anyway, happy Fathers' Day to all of you whatever you're doing and whoever your fathers/father figures are.

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