In memory

My father died of brain cancer six years ago today. I reflect on it here because he gave me an entry into poetry that I don’t know if he even realized. When I graduated from high school,  he gaveme a copy of Robert Bly’s “Iron John.”

He inscribed it with Bly’s poem “Finding the Father.” He knew I was not as close to him as he wanted me to be, and he knew that my graduating and starting college wasn’t likely to brings us closer. But he didn’t know that “Iron John” would open the world of poetry for me, and he didn’t know about my interest in writing.
Many of my poems are about growing up a child of divorce. And many of those poems lay the blame on him. He read those poems and understood where they were coming from —  because of the “Iron John” connection. I try to explain that to people who think my poems are too critical of him, usually to no avail. It’s a difficult concept, I know.

But I remember him today not as an inadequate or absent father. I felt that way for a long time. After six years without him, I’m beginning to see the strengths he left me, which are gradually being revealed as I grow older.

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~ by ericedits on August 12, 2008.

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