Tutelary

By Michael Ryan b. 1946 Michael Ryan
What a fuckup you are.   
What dumbshit you do.   
Your father's voice   
still whispers in you,   
   
despite the joys   
that sweeten each day.   
Your Genius it isn't   
until, dying away,   
   
it worms back through   
the sparkling dream   
where you drown him   
in an inch-deep stream:   
   
your knee in his back,   
your strength on his skull,   
it begins singing   
praise for your skill.

Michael Ryan, “Tutelary” from New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2004 by Michael Ryan. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Poetry (April 2004).

 Michael  Ryan

Biography

Poet and memoirist Michael Ryan was born in St Louis, Missouri. He studied at the University of Notre Dame and Claremont Graduate School, and earned an MFA and PhD from the University of Iowa. Ryan’s first volume, Threats Instead of Trees (1974), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His second collection, In Winter (1981), was selected by Louise Glück for the National Poetry Series. God Hunger (1989) won the Lenore . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.