(for Leon Mannings)
To never show that you’re afraid, To learn that men may cry, To plant a tree beneath whose shade Another man shall lie; To stop and ask the way when lost, To sometimes not be sure, To swallow hard and bear the cost, Else, what are fathers for? To do their homework, fix the shelf, To love your birthday socks, To keep your feelings to yourself Concerning boys and frocks; To walk them here, to drive them there, To praise a new tattoo, To whistle when they dye their hair Bright platinum or blue; To read their boyfriend out his rights, To know he’s not the first, To stay awake most Friday nights Imagining the worst. To chivy luck, to soothe their fears, To spit upon the odds — If fathers did all this, my dears, Then fathers would be gods!
Mandalay, Mustique August 5, 2003
Poem Published in the following books: Island of Dreams