Wrote this for my father’s birthday last November 14. Accompanying this was a book entitled Predictably Irrational, which is a decision-making book (something my dad is very in to, especially given his line of work. Something I’m in to as well, since I’m a psychology major). I decided to use it as a springboard to play on rationality and emotionality and their interaction with perception and image, in the dynamic of a parent-child relationship. I chose this because my dad has always been my image of perfect rationality and knowledge, but he also has a sensitive side, and I think those two elements are married into his love of language, literature and writing. If you ask my friends, then you know I take after him… for the most part. I don’t think that the interplay was so well-hewn in this poem – actually, I find the poem wanting – and a lot of it is standard parent-child gratitude (but to my Father’s credit, aside from being quite a character, he’s been a wonderful caretaker and model of values), but I still think it’s worthy of publishing here.
It’s not easy to describe parents
A parent is both exceedingly familiar
And a mystery –
You spend your whole life knowing them
Yet you know that they lived another life before you.
You tell us stories of your past;
I remember bits and places
And you’ve introduced us to a few faces,
But how much does a child know, really?
And how much can a child,
But I know that you are good,
And that all you do is an outpouring of love for me.
You are busy,
But you still seek to know me.
You are interested in my music
And my books
And my schooling
And in my takes on any random topic under the sun.
Most of all,
You listen to me,
When I babble,
And when I reason,
And when I joke around,
And when I am trying to make sense of my emotions.
You’ve always been all about knowing,
And because of that, I’m the same.
But I love that you are still willing to know me,
Even when I am not rational.
Even when all that I am is messy,
You are my father
Proprietor of my abode,
Provider of each need and luxury;
Both protector of my innocence
And pusher for my knowledge and expansion
You are my teacher –
And I love you
And my work is done to make you proud.
I may not know you fully:
I can’t claim to understand your thoughts,
Nor do I know anything about your work,
Nor can I narrate your life story with confidence.
But I know what I need to know.
You are wise,
You are kind,
You are open,
You are honorable,
And you are mi Papa, Father dearest,