As A Father I Have Learned

We were taught that if God made us
strong then weakness is a blasphemy.
All I can say is that’ll carry you for a
decade, maybe, if you’re lucky, then
you’ll be tempted to lose character.
For example, you’ll start eating donuts
with a fork or folding your boxer shorts.
If you hope to make it as a father you’d
best learn to stand alone in the yard
at night and allow your human failings
of the day to be absorbed by the stars.
I say this not in theory but as practitioner.
No one taught me this. I stumbled upon
the discipline in a used book about myths.
No matter how much you want to take
the pain away from those closest to you
the vital truth is that you can’t. This will
almost always feel like trespass. But you’ve
done nothing wrong except to love someone.

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  1. Susan Irene Fox on February 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    How wonderfully vulnerable; these confessions are what make men strong. At least in my humble eyes.

  2. pastordt on February 23, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Huh. I might like to read that ‘used book about myths.’ Sounds like a grand idea to release the realities of our humanity to all those stars up there . . .

  3. Bare Branches on February 23, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Set aside the meaning (beautiful per usual), there’s something about the composition, mechanics, cadence of these words that is really striking. Interesting. It’ll take several readings to put my finger on it, or maybe it’s best just to enjoy and not define. It speaks

  4. Bare Branches on February 23, 2014 at 4:33 am

    I should’ve left well enough alone, but I couldn’t shake the fact that your poem reminded me of another, and you’ll think i’m nuts (heck, I think I”m nuts) but it finally came to me. In my cookoo brain the parallel was to Sylvia Plath’s Sonnet to Eva. I get it, you couldn’t be further from Plath, in both style and substance, in general and in this poem. Nevertheless, something about the mechanics of your poem took me to that one.There are three things, and they make sense to me, but I’m so tired I couldn’t articulate it tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Is that weird?

  5. Robert Benson on February 25, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    JOHN —

    Go to the plate as often as you can, you are seeing the ball really well just now.


    R. Benson


  6. Bare Branches on February 26, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Re: this poem’s similarity to Plath’s Sonnet to Eva – really there isn’t any substantively, and stylistically it seems a stretch.

    I bother to mention it because the brain is a fascinating thing – and I don’t want you to think I’m crazy. Reading your poem reminded me of something that I couldn’t place – sort of like a dream you might have about an uncle. In the dream, though you know it’s your uncle, he actually looks like your drama teacher in high school. When you wake up you wonder why on earth your uncle should look like your drama teacher in your dream, until you remember that they both had a taste for RC Cola and you saw a commercial for RC just before bed.

    Though it’s strange to compare the two, reading yours reminded me of the EXPERIENCE I had reading Sonnet to Eva the first time. I first read it a few years when I was just starting to read poetry and my notion was that poetry should be rhyme-y and line-y (HA!). So the opening of Eva – when she begins “All right, let’s say you…” came as a surprise because it was conversational (refreshing), so with that opener I was expecting the rest to be straightforward – simple to understand, maybe? What immediately followed was a shock because it wasn’t what I expected – it was grim, for one, and took several readings to get the full of it. It seemed like there were three different poems and it took a few times to see the connection between verses.

    When I read your poem, I was first struck by “for example,” (it gave me that same feeling of “All right, let’s say you…”), it’s very non-poem-y. Then I was surprised by what followed – the examples you gave were entirely unexpected and I didn’t see the connection between admitting weakness and losing character via forked donuts and folded boxers (LOVE IT btw). It also seemed your poem could be read as three separate ideas that didn’t immediately connect until I’d read it a few times.

    Finally, I loved: “No one taught me this. I stumbled upon the discipline in a used book about myths.” I love the brevity of the first line. And what an awesome 2nd line – such an unusual choice and so descriptive. I can just picture you there in a dusty bookstore looking over old books about Greek Gods and knights of the roundtable.

    • thebeautifuldue on February 26, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      I follow what you’re saying, and understand. Thank you for paying attention. And yes, folded boxers are a sign of mold in the soul.

      Thanks, Leah!

  7. In which I link you up (vol. 44) - Sarah Bessey on February 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    […] As a Father, I have Learned – by John Blase […]

  8. Amanda Lynn on March 1, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Reblogged this on So you can come along.

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