Fathers: A Collection of Poems

Edited by David Ray and Judy Ray
St. Martin's Press


One hundred and eighteen of our finest American poets pay eloquent homage to their fathers and the broader concept of fatherhood in this anthology.

Fathers who were nurturing and influential presences in their children's lives are celebrated here, while others are remembered for their absence through death or circumstance.


For My Father        by Judy Ray

Sturdy English oak, deep-rooted
in the Wealden clay,
now ivy is slowing down your pacing
still in muddy fields
to sow, mend hedges, count cattle
or grow an oasis of vegetables and roses
in a wilderness of stinging nettles.
You take pride in your honesty
yet know that acorns are the food of pigs.
The brown eyes, observing England
for eighty-three years now,
have dimmed, yellowed like the leaves
in autumn.
Through two World Wars, when brothers
then nephews wore uniforms,
and bombs left smooth craters even
in the quiet Front Meadow,
you went on supplying milk and sugar beet.
But when an angry cow attacked,
you threw the toddling daughter down
beneath you in the ditch
and took the goring horn in your own back.


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