fathers retreating

dad home from work

dark brown easy chair.

on black and white tv

boxers punching.


i kiss his rough cheek

say good night.

but dad says at twelve

i am too old for that.


for years felt

the hole in my gut

the humiliation for those

expressions of love.


forgot that grandfather

abandoned his thirteen kids

when dad was twelve

during the great depression.


dad quit school

worked to feed the family

searched his whole life

for a father




it’s too late to say,

my late father, 

but i love you for giving 

what love you could


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I've been writing mostly poetry for many years and have gotten a number of works accepted in publications and anthologies. I'm most interested in communicating with poets for whom craft is a high priority. I enjoy finding and commenting on poetic gems in other people's work. For my own work, I welcome polite comments, whether positive or critical.

14 thoughts on “fathers retreating”

      1. Yes, dear Michael, you are right, hits me always. By they way have you seen my new blog, actually I write in my own language but sometimes I try to translate. You are welcome and Thank you, Love, nia

        Liked by 1 person

  1. We never truly lose those scars, those unintended hurts. Hearts, shielding themselves, trying to be someone else’s idea of “strong”. I, too, remember my father telling me I was “too old” to sit on his lap any more — I was probably ten. I also remember him telling me, when I was six, that one day, I would no longer like classical music, that I would become an impossible, unruly, and “bad” teenager, and me, earnestly assuring him that these things would never happen. Unfortunately, one often sees what one expects to see, regardless of fact. We box ourselves in by our expectations.

    Beautiful, painful, fully-realized poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So poignant, Michael, and yes, very emotional to read. I think the depression era people were indeed very stoic. My father was also rather reserved. He passed away when I was only 13, I don’t have too many memories of him at all.


  3. Why is it that gulfs between generations are as hard or harder (because they are with people we love) as gulfs across cultures and languages? My dad is cut of this same cloth. It can be so confusing. He has softened and broadened as he has aged, but there is still so much a shrink could earn honest money for! 🙂

    Thanks for giving words to this complicated and under appreciated set of emotions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I did not have healthy fatherly role models in my life.. The key is in forgiveness.. Good for you! There is a verse that says, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. We humans make mistakes, wrong choices and often do not realize the self-centeredness of it all. I believe that there is Hope for all…

    Liked by 1 person

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