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Father, Dear

(for Leon Mannings)
Felix Dennis
August 5, 2003
Mandalay, Mustique
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To never show that you’re afraid,
To learn that men may cry,
To plant a tree beneath whose shade
Another man shall lie;

To stop and ask the way when lost,
To sometimes not be sure,
To swallow hard and bear the cost,
Else, what are fathers for?

To do their homework, fix the shelf,
To love your birthday socks,
To keep your feelings to yourself
Concerning boys and frocks;

To walk them here, to drive them there,
To praise a new tattoo,
To whistle when they dye their hair
Bright platinum or blue;

To read their boyfriend out his rights,
To know he’s not the first,
To stay awake most Friday nights
Imagining the worst.

To chivy luck, to soothe their fears,
To spit upon the odds —
If fathers did all this, my dears,
Then fathers would be gods!