Poets’ Corner: Two For Father’s Day

According to history.com, during the 1920s and 1930s, a movement arose to scrap Mother’s Day and Father’s Day altogether in favor of a single holiday, Parents’ Day. Every year on Mother’s Day, pro-Parents’ Day groups rallied in New York City’s Central Park–a public reminder, said Parents’ Day activist and radio performer Robert Spere, “that both parents should be loved and respected together.” Paradoxically, however, the Depression derailed this effort to combine and de-commercialize the holidays. Struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards. When World War II began, advertisers began to argue that celebrating Father’s Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort. By the end of the war, Father’s Day may not have been a federal holiday, but it was a national institution.

In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts.

Here two of our regular contributors, David Feela and Erika Moss Gordon offer two nostalgic tributes to their fathers, poems that are at once free – and priceless.


Among the Many Arms My Father Wore, by David Feela 

david feela

I remember hiding,

though my brother had better things to do,

until my sister just quit looking,

until the house grew still

and all I could hear was my heart.

The closet held the darkness,

it surrounded me like a cloak.

In a crowd of shoes I sat untrodden,

my finger tracing the blued length

of my father’s shotgun.

The closet played the movie of my history

on a hundred glossy photographs,

and when I placed the album back

on its high shelf I knew that I too

contained multitudes.

I remember how his closet

embraced me until the sound

of my name grew soft, and the moon

came out from behind a cloud.


There’s Always More to Tell, by Erika Moss Gordon



I’ve been thinking about you all morning.
The dawn is rolling by in the arms of a storm.
I wish that I could give you fair warning
but they’re just like the tides,
these thoughts of mine.

Outside the trees are all in bloom.
I’ve been hoping to hear from you soon.
We’re sitting around making music in a morning room,
and you are on my mind,
most all of the time.

It’s spring again and I’m another year older.
I’m feeling fine, and the children – they are, too.
We’re living this life just a little bit bolder.
The stars keep going round,
and I keep missing you.

We used to walk down by the seaside.
We’d find those shells, and we’d find those stones.
You’d tell me everything’s going to be alright,

and then we’d head on home.
I know you’ve head on home.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve said everything.
That doesn’t mean there’s not always more to tell.
I’d like to play this morning song right to you,
and to know you’re doing well.
There’s always more to tell.

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