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Fathers Day Poetry Slam

Dear Ann,
Thank goodness–thank GOODNESS, I say–we never made a big deal about Mothers Day or Fathers Day in our house. It was always kind of “Sunday: bagels as usual (we’ll run out for cards later)” –and that is a fine, fine thing, don’t get me wrong. So we have not suffered unduly today. Just another Sunday in the New Normal. Which isn’t all that normal, but never mind. We got our uncles some very lovely cosmetics at Lush, just to freak them out! (With any luck, both uncles are going to be smelling very citrus-y on Monday.)
But someone sent my daughter a poem recently. Not having been an English Major, as I should have been, I did not know it before. It’s a poem about the father e.e. cummings had. We should all be so lucky. Happy Fathers Day.
my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height
this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if(so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm
newly as from unburied which
floats the first who,his april touch
drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots
and should some why completely weep
my father’s fingers brought her sleep:
vainly no smallest voice might cry
for he could feel the mountains grow.
Lifting the valleys of the sea
my father moved through griefs of joy;
praising a forehead called the moon
singing desire into begin
joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice
keen as midsummer’s keen beyond
conceiving mind of sun will stand,
so strictly(over utmost him
so hugely) stood my father’s dream
his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
no hungry man but wished him food;
no cripple wouldn’t creep one mile
uphill to only see him smile.
Scorning the Pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;
his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain
septembering arms of year extend
yes humbly wealth to foe and friend
than he to foolish and to wise
offered immeasurable is
proudly and(by octobering flame
beckoned)as earth will downward climb,
so naked for immortal work
his shoulders marched against the dark
his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he’d laugh and build a world with snow.
My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)
then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine,passion willed,
freedom a drug that’s bought and sold
giving to steal and cruel kind,
a heart to fear,to doubt a mind,
to differ a disease of same,
conform the pinnacle of am
though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit,all bequeath
and nothing quite so least as truth
–i say though hate were why men breathe–
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all
E.E. Cummings
Love (more than all),




  1. Thank you so much for sharing that. May God continue to give you and your family blessings and peace.

  2. The bath melts with glitter in them? That would get a chuckle out of the twins. srsly xo, c.

  3. beautiful. thank you.

  4. beautiful. thank you.

  5. Oh, my, now I’m sniffling. SUCH a beautiful poem.

  6. Thanks for sharing the poem. Am glad that celebrations past were done in a way that might help today. The challenge of new normals is that they are only new…normal can’t be until edges are worn off. IMHO. “love is the whole…” best thing I’ve heard/read all day to remember my dad.

  7. Lovely poem, Kay.
    My own dad, at 82, is still with us. He got LUSH for Father’s Day, too: citrusy, porridgy, demony-in-the-dark flavors to brighten his showers at the gym!

  8. you “move” us richly , kay…….

  9. Thank you so much for posting that – I had forgotten how much I like cummings. I hope you & your children are finding comfort in your love & memories.

  10. Beautiful poem Kay. These things are important.
    Big love.
    Heather xxx

  11. Dude has a double negative in there! I love that you can break the rules in poetry. Bodes well for breaking the rules of life. Xoxo.

  12. Dude has a double negative in there! I love that you can break the rules in poetry. Bodes well for breaking the rules of life. Xoxo.

  13. Kay, I am overwhelmed. Ditto all of the above.

  14. Wow Kay. Thanks for that, and I’m glad the day wasn’t too horrible. Tends to be just a normal Sunday in our family and now I know I’ll be thankful for that one day especially.

  15. Hang in there in the New Normal.

  16. Kay,
    What a touching poem! Thank you for sharing.
    Heidi (aka Knitted Yarns)

  17. I am glad to hear that all is well. I was thinking of you and your kids during the day.

  18. THank you, Kay. This is a beautiful poem. I lost my father almost 50 years ago and I still miss him… Yes, the new normal…

  19. Sometimes–rarely–words can be the lens that make something bigger than words visible.
    Thanks, Kay.

  20. lovely. such bigness in such spareness. thank you kay,

  21. Thinking of you and yours this (day after). Because it’s forever going to be the day after. Hugs from Washington state. And thanks for the poem. Cummings can express the unexpressible–he called himself a “literary cubist.”

  22. Kay, thank you for that beautiful poem (I love cummings, too) and for letting us know how your hard journey is going. Lots of thoughts and prayers for you coming from here.

  23. What an amazing poem, I’d never read that one; and what a thoughtful poem for a friend to send your daughter right now. Thanks for sharing it.

  24. I have always been a fan of E.E. Cummings and this just reminded me why …

  25. Beautiful, I’d never read this before. Love especially “if every friend became his foe
    he’d laugh and build a world with snow.” I lost my dad when I was 22, and I read Billy Collins’ poem “The Death of the Hat” at his funeral. Another lovely ode to a father.
    Thanks so much for this! My thoughts are with you guys.

  26. Kay, I think of you and the kids often. Thanks for the update. Wishing you the best, Sarah

  27. Ah, so this unsentimentalist read through half. The whole point has got to be: “Dad was an enigma” !
    If I were an English major, I’m sure I’d hang in there and get more of it.

  28. “love is the whole and more than all”
    Love is the part that lasts. I hope you can all find a new normal that never loses the joys of the old normal. Tears and laughter are both part of the journey, but some parts are more slanted one way than the other.
    Blessings on you all.

  29. I was an English major and have always loved e.e.cummings. This poem made me cry on two levels: one for you & your kids, your loss so new and devastating. And for me (selfish, huh?) whose father was not so praiseworthy and so my tears are for a different kind of loss. The power of poetry…

  30. Thank you Kay.

  31. e.e. cummings was my favorite poet growing up (except for the tintinnabulation of the bells). I will have to dig up my collection of his poetry when I get home tonight.

  32. Sending out big love to you all!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

  33. Kay, thanks for this poem. I am chuckling away thinking of my late father’s reaction to non-rhyming verse — “that’s not poetry!”

  34. My dad introduced me to ee cummings years ago, but I’d not read that one. Thank you for sharing it. Heartfelt empathy to your family at this time.

  35. My dad introduced me to ee cummings years ago, but I’d not read that one. Thank you for sharing it. Heartfelt empathy to your family at this time.

  36. Wow, thanks for the poem and all. I try not to buy into the Mother’s or Father’s Day thang but it still does a number on me every year. Take care.

  37. I’ve made three attempts to get through this poem. Then I start thinking about my dad (who is alive and well, thank you.)
    I marvel at you and your strength and grace. The New Normal. You have amazing ways to let us know…

  38. thank you fine poetry
    its that orphan feeling thats so hard
    even when we are all grown up
    the rain falls upon my pillow
    my tears fall wettly
    my small world
    a world with out me
    by me love

  39. but the greatest of these is love

  40. You’re so good to share with us so unselfishly! Add me to those praying strength to you all right now….

  41. That was so thoughtful of the friend to give her this poem – I had thought e.e.cummings was passe in this day and age, nice to see young people still read him.
    Thank you for sharing with us your strength in your progress on this most difficult portion of your life’s story. I continue to pray for you and your family that you will be able to continue to move on without forgetting but with increasing love and closeness.

  42. Gawd, I love e.e.cummings.
    Hugs to you and yours!

  43. the nice thing about poems is that someone else turned themself inside out to share their feelings. We can reflect and find pieces of our own mind in someone else’s words. Much like I get from you two.

  44. hugs and prayers and thank you for the poem

  45. thank you for this…as I sing songs that my dad who died at the dawn of advent last year might hear…this one is for singing…

  46. Thank you, Kay, for reaching out and inspiring the rest of us in spite of your sadness.

  47. Adding my voice to the chorus of thank yous, and thinking of you and yours.

  48. What a lovely post. You always know what to say.

  49. Kay, such a moving post. I’m keeping you and your children in my thoughts. be well.

  50. Thanks, Kay, for sharing this–I lost my dad years ago, but still think of him on Father’s Day, and this made me think of him again, with more love than sadness, which is a great gift.This is a gorgeous poem, and one I’d never read before–surely, discovering a new-to-you poem that you love is one of life’s great pleasures. For those who want more inspiration, try checking out this post over at The Sister Project–it’s full of inspiring poetry from writers and readers. Thanks again, and hope you’re hanging in there…

  51. Thank you, very beautiful.

  52. IlpsLaHWTDpMYnAVJZ 9177


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