There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about and miss my father. Perhaps it was the kindness that was so much his hallmark… perhaps it was his endless patience and his willingness to drop whatever he was doing to listen, to care, to act.
“Want to read me a book, Papa?” I would ask eagerly.
“Want to play catch?”
“Want to hear me recite the poem I just memorized?”
You name it, tired or not, busy or not, preoccupied or not, the answer was always a smile and a yes. It isn’t until you’re a parent yourself that you realize just how much love and patience and unselfishness it takes for that gift to be given.
I guess I don’t have to tell you that adulthood didn’t change the dynamic either, because his heart was always bigger than anything that could be asked of it. So many stories flood to mind…so many instances of selfless generosity and unconditional love.
I’ve written quite a lot about my father, as you know, so today I thought I’d do another sort of tribute to this rare, kind man by reprising a few favorite poems or fragments of poems by others who loved their fathers dearly and missed them enough to write of them with pride and memory and infinite love.
My Father Moved Through Dooms of Love
an excerpt from the poem by e.e.cummings
Though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit, all bequeath
and nothing quite so least as truth –
I say though hate were why men breathe –
because my father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all
My Father’s Hat
while standing on a chair and tiptoeing reach higher,
touching, sometimes fumbling the soft crowns
and imagine I was in a forest,
wind hymning through pines,
where the musky scent of rain clinging to damp earth
was his scent I loved.
William Rose Benet
In a stern lonely way.
The speculation of his eagle mind
hovered above their ignorance of him;
and he was just and generous and kind
and whimsical and grim.
He had an erudition hard to match,
a pride upon whose point he often ran,
quicksilver wisdom difficult to catch,
the ironic mask of Man,
About his mouth there was a smiling hid
that gorgon death could never turn to stone;
and when they lowered down the coffin lid
I heard a trumpet blown.