Poem Sampler

Poems for Fathers

Skip the tie and give your dad one of these Fathers Day poems.

The Gift by Li-Young Lee
To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.


Those Winter Sundays by Robert E. Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,


Childhood Ideogram by Larry Levis
lay my head sideways on the desk,
My fingers interlocked under my cheekbones,


Fifteen by Leslie Monsour
The boys who fled my father's house in fear
Of what his wrath would cost them if he found


Youth by James Wright
Strange bird,
His song remains secret.


Bewitched Playground by David Rivard
Each could picture probably
with great care his brother drawing


Dressing My Daughters by Mark Jarman
One girl a full head taller
Than the other—into their Sunday dresses.


Epigrams: On my First Son by Ben Jonson
Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy.


Wine by David Wojahn
Midnight
and the pipes knock,


This Can't Be by Bruce Smith
the place of consequence, the station of his embrace.
Or else I’m not son enough to see


His Stillness by Sharon Olds
The doctor said to my father, “You asked me
to tell you when nothing more could be done.


Carpentry by Carl Dennis
Carpenters whose wives have run off
Are sometimes discovered weeping on the job.


In Dreams by Kim Addonizio
After eighteen years there’s no real grief left
for the man who was my father.


All My Pretty Ones by Anne Sexton
Father, this year’s jinx rides us apart
where you followed our mother to her cold slumber;


Brock by Paul Muldoon
Small wonder
he’s not been sighted all winter;


Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams
If when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen


Father by Edgar Albert Guest
My father knows the proper way
The nation should be run;


Grandfather by Michael S. Harper
In 1915 my grandfather’s
neighbors surrounded his house


The Hospital Window by James L. Dickey
I have just come down from my father.
Higher and higher he lies


Lines to My Father by Countee Cullen
The many sow, but only the chosen reap;
Happy the wretched host if Day be brief,


The Lost Pilot by James Tate
Your face did not rot
like the others—the co-pilot,


Only a Dad by Edgar Albert Guest
Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,


Our Father by Irving Feldman
This stranger whose flesh we never ate,
who, rather, sat at table with us, eating,


A Toast to the Men by Edgar Albert Guest
Here’s to the men! Since Adam’s time
They’ve always been the same;

 

More Father's Day Poems from the Poetry Foundation Archive.

Originally Published: April 28, 2007

COMMENTS (2)

On April 28, 2007 at 9:21am irving feldman wrote:
"Our Father" above does NOT cite the first two lines of my poem, which begins "This stranger whose flesh we never ate"

On January 7, 2008 at 6:22am Jeffery Edward Mc Cants wrote:
Looking for the poem To be a Negro To be a negro in a day like this, this is the first line by James David Carruthers or by David James Carruthers .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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