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Fatherhood

Greg Powell reflects on Fatherhood on Father's Day 2019

beneath clouds like gray
floating sky foam, my seed
the tree stretches and argues
in tantrum against
strangely chill summer breeze.
it is a different feel
from our little vegetable
garden in back planted
in raised wood box
fortress against ravaging
squirrels. leafy herbs and greens
sprout and yield salad for season
and then buried in ice and snow.
the tree, evergreen, we sowed
for years on knees, hands in earth
beseeching the earth and God
for mercy against predators
more vicious than squirrels,
and for strength to bend
unbroken by storms. planted
and sowed, more long ago
than it seems. my daddy eyes
that used to look down
now look up
to tree growing wild
and free in front yard
towering over hoop
and house. nurtured and
destined to reach higher
than I can see, above ugly gray
foam in chilled summer sky
summoned by a higher sun.
my eyes are delighted
by the unseen, even to tears
that contend with chill wind.
tears come more often
these strange gray summer days
in joy and terror and hope and rage
as I curse the old american gods
and their demoralizing demons
singing my daddy praise song
in joy and terror and hope and rage
dance my daddy shaman dance
feet stomping intercessory defiance
for young tree growing tall
by big young tree,
may it always be,
wild and free. daddy be singing;
if you got a big axe
we got a big tree.
you can’t cut it down.
won’t let you cut it down…