I Believe

Strange, these after-your-father-dies days

when too-tired-for-life you wonder if you ever

really believed in God or just believed in Dad.

Lately, for me, I’ve leaned toward the latter.

John Dunne’s (the other one) fierce novel

Dutch Shea, Jr. concludes with this credo:

“I believe in Cat. I believe in God.”

Dutch’s daughter, Cat—killed by an IRA bomb.


Could I have believed in God had I not had

the kind of father I had for fifty-four years?

Like most things, it’s hard to say for certain.

Like most of us, we’re not looking for answers

so much as reaching for a hand hold, something

on the day’s sheer face to crimp or pinch,

an edge to keep your life from tumbling down.

I believe in Dad. I believe in God.

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  1. Margaret Todd on October 4, 2021 at 6:21 am

    My dad died 30 years ago at age 58. Your words give my still-can-feel-fresh-grief credence.

  2. Sallie on October 4, 2021 at 6:36 am

    Oh John . . .

  3. Nate on October 4, 2021 at 6:52 am

    Thank you.

    • nancymariedavis on October 4, 2021 at 7:25 am

      so many ways to say
      what gets one
      through the days
      what we are
      what we become

  4. Cherry on October 4, 2021 at 7:01 am

    No words.

    • nancymariedavis on October 4, 2021 at 7:23 am

      so many ways to say
      what gets one
      through the days
      what we are
      what we become

  5. Marilyn Yocum on October 4, 2021 at 7:24 am

    ? Thank you for bearing witness out loud.

  6. Gretchen on October 4, 2021 at 7:40 am

    I remember wondering how the world could still spin on its axis.

    • Marsha Hall on October 4, 2021 at 11:40 am

      I totally agree with you John!

  7. Duncan Hilton on October 4, 2021 at 8:07 am

    Each day a poem arrives from you in my inbox it’s the most careful and heartfelt compilation of words for the week. Thank you.

  8. Mike Kates on October 4, 2021 at 8:10 am

    Your Dad sounds like he was a wonderful man.
    Different story for me, but I’m trying to be the kind of man I suspect your Dad was to my son.
    Nice to hear from you.

  9. Joyce Rempel on October 4, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Faith of our fathers…

  10. Jacky on October 11, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Oh yes! You said it good again.

    Glad to see you here, John

  11. Sherrey Meyer on October 17, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    I can’t find the words . . .

  12. Lynn Schriner on January 5, 2022 at 9:55 am

    When my Dad died two years ago, the sifting of the bones began and the depth of the marrow of my soul was revealed. It was Dad who held be afloat on these treacherous waters of life unimagined. It was his voice and his solidity that kept me from bailing ship (too many times if I am honest.) I am now orphaned and leaning into the God who is, and who will forever be. How I long for God to be the voice of love for me over the phone. How I long for his embrace into a scratchy old sweater. How I miss the flesh and blood of someone who was my soulmate. I know this is a terribly hard time for you. Carrying that big ol cross up a new hill (We liked the old hills didn’t we?) I miss our old stomping grounds and safer times. Blessings and a hug do I send to you

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