I have been retired for years from college French teaching, and now live in New York City dividing my time between poetry and painting.
Poems by Sons
As men get older they remember
a father who often shows up in a poem
as a man looking out
the window at a lone crow on the road,
or a man shaving while steam
from a small boy’s adoration
rises and clouds the mirror.
The boy in the memory is thinking
it must take courage
to wield so sharp a blade
on a beard!
That boy looks forward to having
a beard of his own, as well as his father’s
courage, his father’s power to lose
those whiskers and,
the next day, grow more.
Now, as a father himself,
he understands that the man
he remembers was burdened,
not only with powers, but with doubts.
That’s what the poem is about.
He has to admit that his real father would not
have liked the poem, would not
have approved the lines about steam
and adoration, would never have shaved
a heavy beard in front
of a clouded mirror.
© 2018 Sarah White
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