We’ve talked so much here about the failure of fathers, ex-husbands or even many of the writers own fathers that this clip from the excellent film “Smoke Signals” keeps popping into my head.
Happy Father’s Day to all you good fathers or just trying to be a father the best way you can figure fathers. You guys rock! You are the men that are inspirations, that raise happy secure beloved children. The greatest gift you give is loving their mother.
To those carrying scars from fatherhood failures may you be healed inside.
How do we forgive our Fathers?
Maybe in a dream
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever
when we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.
Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers?
For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning
for shutting doors
for speaking through walls
or never speaking
or never being silent?
Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs
or their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it?
If we forgive our Fathers what is left?
* This poem is read during the last scene in Smoke Signals. It was
originally published in a longer version titled “Forgiving Our
Fathers” in a book of poems titled Ghost Radio published by Hanging
Loose Press in 1998