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On Fathers

How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a
dream. He’s in your power. You twist his arm.

But you’re not sure it was he that stole your money.

You feel calmer and you decide to let him go free.

Or he’s the one, as in a dream of mine, I must pull from the water,
but I never knew it or wouldn’t have done
it, until I saw the street-theater play so close up I was moved to actions I’d never before taken.

Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often or forever when we were little?

Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage or making us nervous because there never
seemed to be any rage there at all?

Do we forgive our fathers for marrying or not marrying our mothers?
For divorcing or not divorcing our mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth, of coldness?

Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning? For shutting doors?
For speaking only through layers of cloth,or never speaking, or never being silent?

Do we forgive our fathers in our age or in theirs?
Or in their deaths. Saying it to them or not saying it?

If we forgive our fathers, what is left?

Dick Lourie, Forgiving Our Fathers,
Hanging Loose Press,
pps 147-149,
and as appears in
Sherman Alexie’s  film, Smoke Signals,

some More words on Fathers –

Knock Knock

A Cherokee Grandfather’s Story

An old Cherokee Indian was teaching his grandchildren about life.
He said to them,

“A fight is going on inside me.  it is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves.
One wolf represents fear,anger,envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity,guilt,resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride , superiority, ego and unfaithfulness.wolves
The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, forgiveness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faithfulness.  The same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person too.”

They thought about it for a minute, then one child asked his grandfather,  “Which wolf will win, grandfather?”

The old Cherokee replied simply, “The one you feed.”

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