He was the first man your eyes opened to..
The shivering hand that touched your tiny nose..
The strong arm you cuddled on..
His love that kept brimming but never spilled..
Those eyes that made everything seem within reach..
That laughter you could never get enough of..
That heroism no television star could come close to.
That man who was, is and will always be your world – Dad!
This Father’s Day we have handpicked the most beautiful verses to celebrate the man who is rarely talked about. Over the years poets, both popular and amateur, have weaved memories, experiences, events and things belonging to their father in heartfelt words. Be it daddy’s belt or the worn out heel of his shoe, his heroic leap or mundane daily routine, his short temper or his never-ending patience, these poems delve into deeper meanings of father child relationships glorifying innocent perspectives and long lost connects.
Right from the time of William Shakespeare there has been no dearth of poems written about fathers. Many have found a friend in their dad while others couldn’t stop admiring them. Reminiscence of days gone by form the root of each thought which branch out into different realms.
We have picked selected stanzas from the complete poems. The stanzas that stayed loitering around the vacant spaces of mind, refusing to leave.
Remember that favourite expression of your dad and take a stroll down the memory lane with these heart warming daddy poems.
No childhood is complete without that superhero who sets it all right and creates a profound impact on that curious little mind. Simple yet powerful memories of the father figure sets ground of early eventful days. That guy you admire so much, you wish to be him, even if just for a moment. His style, his character, his thoughts, his words… everything becomes an inspiration. After all who hasn’t walked in daddy’s big brown shoes braving around the house?
Here are some poems capturing vivid childhood memories that have become a part of your being.
My Father by Yehuda Amichai
The memory of my father is wrapped up in
white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.
The Fathers by Edwin Muir
Our fathers all were poor,
Poorer our fathers’ fathers;
Beyond, we dare not look.
We, the sons, keep store
Of tarnished gold that gathers
Around us from the night,
Record it in this book
That, when the line is drawn,
Credit and creditor gone,
Column and figure flown,
Will open into light.
My Father was a Farmer: A Ballad by Robert Burns
MY father was a farmer upon the Carrick border,
And carefully he bred me in decency and order,
He bade me act a manly part, though I had ne’er a farthing,
For without an honest manly heart, no man was worth regarding,
Memory Of My Father by Patrick Kavanagh
Every old man I see
In October-coloured weather
Seems to say to me:
“I was once your father.”
My Father’s Hats by Mark Irwin
Sunday mornings I would reach
high into his dark closet while standing
on a chair and tiptoeing reach
higher, touching, sometimes fumbling
the soft crowns and imagine
I was in a forest, wind hymning
through pines, where the musky scent
of rain clinging to damp earth was
his scent I loved, lingering on
bands, leather, and on the inner silk
crowns where I would smell his
hair and almost think I was being
held, or climbing a tree, touching
the yellow fruit, leaves whose scent
was that of clove in the godsome air,
Father by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
He never made a fortune, or a noise
In the world where men are seeking after fame;
But he had a healthy brood of girls and boys
Who loved the very ground on which he trod.
They thought him just little short of God;
Oh you should have heard the way they said his name – ‘Father.’
My Father’s Love Letters by Yusef Komunyakaa
On Fridays he’d open a can of Jax
After coming home from the mill,
& ask me to write a letter to my mother
Who sent postcards of desert flowers
Taller than men. He would beg,
Promising to never beat her
My father could only sign
His name, but he’d look at blueprints
& say how many bricks
Formed each wall. This man,
Who stole roses & hyacinth
For his yard, would stand there
With eyes closed & fists balled,
Laboring over a simple word, almost
Redeemed by what he tried to say.
Father and Son by Stanley Kunitz
At the water’s edge, where the smothering ferns lifted
Their arms, “Father!” I cried, “Return! You know
The way. I’ll wipe the mudstains from your clothes;
No trace, I promise, will remain.
Our Fathers Also by Rudyard Kipling
“Below the Mill Dam” – Traffics and Discoveries
Thrones, Powers, Dominions, Peoples, Kings,
Are changing ‘neath our hand.
Our fathers also see these things
But they do not understand.
The grapes are pressed, the corn is shocked–
Standeth no more to glean;
For the Gates of Love and Learning locked
When they went out between.
Elegy For My Father by Annie Finch
Night, take his left hand, turning the pages.
Spin with the windows and doors that he mended.
Spin with his answers, patient, impatient.
Spin with his dry independence, his arms
warmed by the needs of his family, his hands
flying under the wide, carved gold ring, and the pages
flying so his thought could fly. His breath slows,
lending its edges out to the night.
Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
American Primitive by William Jay Smith
Look at him there in his stovepipe hat,
His high-top shoes, and his handsome collar;
Only my Daddy could look like that,
And I love my Daddy like he loves his Dollar.
The Gift by Li-Young Lee
To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry…
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father.
My father moved through dooms of love by E. E. Cummings
My father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height..
joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice
and nothing quite so least as truth
— I say though hate were why men breathe —
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all
My Father on His Shield by Walt McDonald
I can’t bring my father back.
Legs crossed, he sits there brash
with a private’s stripe, a world away
from the war they would ship him to
Yesterday by W. S. Merwin
he says my father
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I don’t want to keep you
I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do
Whose Mouth Do I Speak With by Suzanne Rancourt
I can remember my father bringing home spruce gum.
He worked in the woods and filled his pockets
with golden chunks of pitch.
For his children
he provided this special sacrament
and we’d gather at this feet, around his legs,
bumping his lunchbox, and his empty thermos rattled inside.
and how many other children had fathers
that placed on their innocent, anxious tongue
the blood of tree?
Tea for My Father by Michael Hofmann
I think of his characteristic way of saying ‘tea’,
with his teeth bared and clenched in anticipation.
It is not his first language nor his favourite drink,
so there is something exotic about both word and thing.
Working Late by Louis Simpson
A light is on in my father’s study.
“Still up?” he says, and we are silent,
looking at the harbor lights,
listening to the surf
and the creak of coconut boughs.
The Distant Footsteps by Cesar Vallejo
My father is sleeping. His noble face
suggests a mild heart;
he is so sweet now . . .
if anything bitter is in him, I must be the bitterness.
A Father To His Son by Carl Sandburg
A father sees his son nearing manhood.
What shall he tell that son?
‘Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.’
And this might stand him for the storms
and serve him for humdrum monotony
and guide him among sudden betrayals
and tighten him for slack moments.
Sonnet 37: As A Decrepit Father Takes Delight by William Shakespeare
As a decrepit father takes delight
To see his active child do deeds of youth,
So I, made lame by Fortune’s dearest spite,
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth.
Only A Dad by Edgar Albert Guest
Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.
His first hero, her first love By Abhi J
made you stand on his toes
he was the ring encircling you close,
the gift that gave you the bliss
he was the Santa you always did miss,
when in a crowd a glimpse was a figh
t he was the one who raised your height,
first time you paddled without any supports
“you’re cycling on your own”, he purports,
forever he was willing to lift and carry
and you thought your weight never did vary?
when the power went off at night
you rushed to him and hugged him tight,
Superman, Spiderman, Batman shelved in a row
but he topped the list as your first superhero,
The Father Of The Bride by Namita Sinha
Here’s the beautiful innocent ‘Bride’,
All decked and ready to ‘glide’,
Towards a future- full of love and shining ‘bright’.
Entire night her eyes may have ‘cried’,
With the fear of losing her friend, philosopher and ‘guide’..
But as always, she finds him standing by her side,
Shoulders firm and smile as wide,…
For he is the Father of the Bride.,.
Of merciless nights of despair by Pallavi Banerjee
That chest where I lay curled up once
Now quivers like paper flower petals
Under the ceiling fan.
As I watch over your film-thin sleep
Dear father, I try helplessly to ward off
Mosquitoes and the pointed canines of time
That insist on sucking my childhood out
Right through your veins.
My Father Behind The Wheel by GlenDodge
my father’s Mercedes was a sacred relic with a flavor
of old leather upholstery. It rested in its own building.
there must have been some kind of familial syzygy
that called for the stout gray car to be called forth
my father manipulated the manual transmission
like he wanted to go faster than the speed limit
Suddenly I spotted dad in the driveway
I fled and sped through the doorway
Covered in dust I went for a lotion spray
Hoping on dad’s intelligence to outplay
The Eloquent Ordinary by Becky Sanvictores
My father’s hands big as thirteen inch radial
s knuckles thick like good tread
cover more miles than the road we’re on
driving south to Shiloh, south to his hometown
I’m along to steer free of ditches
roadside stands slapped shut for winter
cornstalks breaking down in the snow
and like the phone lines routing I-29
he strings stories
Summer Rain of a Dad by Arun M Sivakrishna
He sounded very feeble
Unlike the man he once was
“I heard” he said “what you wrote”
Picking on a Love Hate duel;
An innocuous note that
I have penned in an obscure magazine.
“How come you feel that I hate you?”
It was more of an aside
Than a question.
Could see a lonely trickle
Of a solitary pearl
Swelling inside the only good
Eye that he still has.
Untitled by Teegee Villanueva
And when he had lifted me up
On his round shoulders
Thin child, strong arms;
He smiled; cough, cough
The child was too heavy
So he had put me down–
And danced with mom instead
And you remember Papa,
When you took me to the ball
Of the man with the silver hands
O, how tired were your hands
O, how worn-out were your feet when it was done;
You raised them to the dashboard,
Socks pink, I can still remember
Years by Averee
Looking at you,
From atop our staircase-
I could see so many years,
In that space of time.
Albeit, you looked,
If I may, say so-
Yet I could not help,
The lighter grey at temples
And in strands astray.
My Dad by Curtis Johnson Sr.
In all appearances, his feet were firmly planted in our southern home town
It seemed clear that daddy’s life was fixed and fashioned on the grounds of Dixie
But I’m also certain, there were times I heard his heart beating a different sound
I do not know if my dad was being poetic, or if he really desired
A different land. But I do believe that he was longing for change
And I believe that daddy longed for a fresh touch of God’s hands
And I believe that his soul was uttering, “I’m longing to know the
Why did leave so soon dad? There’s so much left unsaid, undiscovered, un-understood. The void that haunts your existence, the voices you hear when nothing falls in place, the pen you hide in your box of treasures because his fingers have woven thoughts with it, that picture hanging on the wall which gives you strength and courage to fathom anything and everything. Living without a father is like staying in a house with no roof.
These poems will touch the deepest chords of your heart and remind you of a man who is never to be seen but is always around.
Talking To My Father Whose Ashes Sit In A Closet And Listen by Lisa Zaran
Death is not the final word.
Without ears, my father still listens,
still shrugs his shoulders
whenever I ask a question he doesn’t want to answer.
My Father by Barry Tebb
I had a father once, the records say.
He has gone away down the long avenue
Of death, on the hand-held minor no mist
Of his breath, his firm signature no more.
No more holding down his hat in the wind,
Running to catch the last post, he has gone
Beyond the wind-shaped stones on the high wall.
On The Death of a Father by Ivan Donn Carswell
This dismal place I hide my grief is crowded shame,
my father would have taught me tame my trembling lips
without contempt, face far constraints tight-lipped,
remain serene; I dream how well I played his silent game.
To My Dead Father by Frank O Hara
Don’t call to me father.
wherever you are I’m
still your little son
running through the dark.
I couldn’t do what you say.
even if I could hear
your roses no longer grow
My heart’s black as their
My Father’s Belt by Raymond A. Foss
Fifteen year and more
After he is gone,
A regular reminder of my father
Goes around my waist, through the loops
Holding me together, at least a bit
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas
And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
It’s been a while, we heard mama say..
Life shallow, and she in her despair..
We played the home game, dolls in pairs.
Missed the large figure, at our stead.
If I could just have a minute
with the man that I miss,
it would be a sweet moment
of heavenly bliss.
I would hold him so close
and squeeze him so tight
and on his sweet brow
kiss him gently goodnight.
I would look in his eyes,
so sweet and so blue
and simply say to him,
“Dad, I really love you.”
A Daughter’s Dedication to Her Father by Sushantika
I’m stuck with mixed feelings,
All the layers of emotion peeling,
I ought to be happy and glad,
Instead it’s bittersweet with more sad,
I miss my best friend – my dad!
It pains to see you whine and cry
To console you with a hug,I try
But you know that it is far
As now I am a twinkling Star.
Daddy, please forgive me
I don’t understand
Why life played This dirty game
Ever since you have gone away
I haven’t been the same.
I’ve seen you suffer a lot
I know it must have been tough
I guess you just decided
You had had enough
I pray you’re in a better place
I pray you’re feeling whole
A place where you’re at peace
In your heart and your soul
Lost Time by Katrina Drover
I thought I had more time
We had so many plans
You were to come out here for a visit
And we were to come there
I wish we had more memories
I wish there was more time
You were taken too young
But they say only the good die young
Daddy you will be missed
But I know my girls have a guardian angel
Just keep an eye on us down here ok?
Don’t lose anymore time…
On a lonely evening, amidst all chaos
Whenever I look at the pale sky
A dad who made me who I am
Reminds me how to fly
He never spoke much, did he really love me? The dark diaries are filled with questions that haunt the spaces of mind. When the world is glorifying fathers, why isn’t mine fitting the mould? Some childhoods are deprived of that strong shoulder and sway in darkness, anger, expectations and loneliness. There is love but it remains unexpressed, a vacuum that never fills, questions that remain unanswered. A dad who fails to understand his child.
Here are poems about the disturbing friction between father and child.
Father by Philip Levine
I found you later
from The History of Siege,
eyes turned to a public wall
before I turned back, mouth
in mine and gone.
I found you whole
toward the autumn of my 43rd year
in this chair beside
a masonjar of dried zinnias
and I turned away.
I find you
in these tears, few,
useless and here at last.
Don’t come back.
A Child Of Mine by Edgar Albert Guest
I will lend you, for a little time,
A child of mine, He said.
For you to love the while he lives,
And mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty-two or three.
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for Me?
The Portrait by Stanley Kunitz
My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time
and in a public park,
when I was waiting to be born.
She locked his name
in her deepest cabinet
and would not let him out,
though I could hear him thumping.
Daddy by Sylvia Plath
Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time–
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal
You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who
Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.
The Little Boy Lost by William Blake
‘Father, father, where are you going?
Oh do not walk so fast!
Speak, father, speak to you little boy,
Or else I shall be lost.’
The night was dark, no father was there,
The child was wet with dew;
The mire was deep, and the child did weep,
And away the vapour flew.
My Father by Charles Bukowski
I think it was my father who made me decide to
become a bum.
I decided that if a man like that wants to be rich
then I want to be poor.
like an oddity of the earth
like a hundred thousand oddities
like millions of other oddities,
My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke
The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt..
An Ideal Father by Sukasah Syahdan
An ideal father:
Dream Song 384 by John Berryman
The marker slants, flowerless, day’s almost done,
I stand above my father’s grave with rage,
often, often before
I’ve made this awful pilgrimage to one
who cannot visit me, who tore his page
out: I come back for more.
I spit upon this dreadful banker’s grave
who shot his heart out in a Florida dawn
O ho alas alas
When will indifference come, I moan & rave
I’d like to scrabble till I got right down
away down under the grass
Then my life took a wicked turn,
somebody said I was a winner when I was a sperm.
I had beat out millions so I could be born,
so all that my father was saying is now gone.
Your eyes say you are touched. Something within has moved. That look in your eyes is priceless. If these poems have filled you with gratitude towards your dad why not remember him and say a small prayer for his health and goodwill. Let him know what he means to you and how his being there has made all the difference. For the fortunate ones whose dad is just a call away, pick up that phone and say ‘Happy Father’s Day’.
If you wish to read heart warming Father Poems you can find the complete list here – Father Poems at HighOnPoems
Is your favourite father poem missing from the list? Why not share it in the comments section below. We would love to read it.