Father’s Lament



Photo Brian Federle, Hawaii, 2016

Spring fills this dry land
With life, yet

I cannot see your face
or embrace you with a father’s love
as I did when last you filled our lives
with your easy laughter
and beautiful eyes.

Shall I speak to you, tell how
small birds gather
in the budding apple tree
hungry no more,
filled with joy?

I cry out to you
and the startled birds
fall into silence,

Let me tell you, then,
Of my new life without you.

Deep in my side I feel endless pain
where my heart once beat;
now I merely breathe

My son, oh, where have you gone?
Call to me from the brilliant heights,

for deep in darkness I lie
crying to see you just
one more

(for Brian Federle, 3/4/86 – 3/25/17)


3 thoughts on “Father’s Lament

  1. Steven, I know how shaken you feel right now. I am glad you are writing poetry. The only thing that kept me alive when Kevin was dying was the writing of sonnets, I think. Another day will come, and the sun will shine. I can tell you that. But the truth is that once your son is gone you are changed. I know I turned this way and that and tried to find purchase in something, anything. I suspect I was ferocious at work since I had to try to be strong for Ethel and our daughters at home. The endless pain is there. Nothing anybody says relieves it. Still, words are all that we have in the end, words and the way we touch each other and the world. I have a great deal of respect for you, my friend. Be strong.

  2. I hesitated to click ‘like’ on such an anguished poem, posted I infer on a most painful anniversary, so let me add that I greatly admire these lines – and I would extend my inadequate good wishes from a remote distance. John

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