Pick-a-Poem: Haiku for My Father

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Good afternoon, blog readers, and welcome to another featured poem! It’s time for your weekly dose of poetry. On this Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a holiday whose hallmark is spending time with family, we have a poem addressed to a father. This week’s poem, which comes from Poetry Daily, is entitled Haiku for My Father and is written by Matthew Sweeney.

According to his page on Poetry Daily, Matthew Sweeney‘s “recent poetry collections include Black Moon (Jonathan Cape, 2007) and The Night Post: A Selection (Salt, 2010). Black Moon was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award. Horse Music is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.”

Haiku for My Father, by Matthew Sweeney

1

I telephone home—
the voice on the ansaphone
is his from the tomb.

2

I ask did he hear
those last words I whispered to
his comatose ear.

3

That cut on his hand
as he entered the long box—
is it on the mend?

4

Who’s cutting his hair
down there in the freezing dark
without any air?

5

His nails also grow—
what about the blackened one
on his little toe?

6

That bottle of wine
I served with the Xmas goose—
I’ll bring it again.

7

I will roast some lamb
and let it get way overdone—
to satisfy him.

8

If I try Irish
will he speak to me and say
I’ve granted his wish?

9

I want him to read
these lines I’ve written for him,
if he’s really dead.

10

I call his number
that’s saved on my mobile phone—
there is no answer.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem. For more of these, click here. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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