For My Father on Father’s Day

I first published this poem for Father’s Day in 2009 while I was preparing a lecture and workshop here in Asheville titled The Father Quest: A Guide for Rediscovering and Renewing the Foundation of Fatherhood. My life was permeated with thoughts about fathers, our experience of them, and how they have affected our lives. The following poem about some of my feelings and reflections concerning my dad came to mind, and I want to share it with you again.

For My Father on Father’s Day

by Bud Harris, Ph.D.

You were the man who wanted desperately
to be proud of me, who wanted me to fulfill
your dreams,
and thereby cleanse you of fear and
heal your ancient
Your fear drove you through life,
aggressive, angry,
terrifying the small boy I was. Yet,
at the same time you were loyal
and deeply committed to loving your
Your courage took you through
many desperate hours and out of the other side,
seeking new life
for yourself and all of us, a valiant quest
that in many ways
failed at the end, strangled by
But, you taught me courage, the virtue
someone once said is the greatest gift in the world
to receive. And, you taught me something
about the meaning of
I always felt your pain, long before I could
to understand it. I wish I could have found
a way
to heal it, but the challenge
was far too great for me. Trying to heal it
would have destroyed me. Still, I often wish
I could have been the son you dreamed of,
that would have
healed you.
I remember you with longing and I wish
we could have understood each other better.
I weep
that you are no longer here
because I miss you terribly, as I
always have.
So, I write to thank you for the gift
of courage, for love, and
for the longings in my heart that have driven me
to quest as well, and for the living example
that warned me against the dangers of


Art Credit: Peasant Boy Sitting In A Meadow, Georges Seurat

Categories: Articles by Drs. Bud and Massimilla Harris
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