Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Grace Paley's "Fathers"

My parents visited this past weekend, and my ex-Cold Warrior father (Navy veteran and longtime reserve officer, retired with the rank of Captain) had just returned from Vietnam, forty years after his service in the war. Here's to you, Pops, and your bear hugs.

"Fathers" by Grace Paley

Fathers are
more fathering
these days they have
accomplished this by
being more mothering

what luck for them that
women's lib happened then
the dream of new fathering
began to shine in the eyes
of free women and was

on the New York subways
and the mass transits
of other cities one may
see fatherings of many colors
with their round babies on
their laps this may also
happen in the countryside

these scenes were brand new
exciting for an old woman who
had watched the old fathers
gathering once again in
familiar army camps and com-
fortable war rooms to consider
the necessary eradication of
the new fathering fathers
(who are their sons) as well
as the women and children who
will surely be in the way


Anonymous said...

is this poem supposed to have punctuation it's really bugging me

Anonymous said...

What a powerful poem, angry but measured. I have just discovered Grace Paley and her short stories, looking forward to much more.