David Whalen

Rookie - 88 Points (5/18/38 / Covington Kentucky)

A Father's Lament


I was never one for my kids to look up to
That's a stone cold fact that I'll always regret

I was never the best dad, for them to hold on to
I was there and I provided, I cared…and yet

I didn't give enough love, I wasn't tender enough
I was too much a disciplinarian, too quick to berate

I wanted to teach them to be righteous and tough
I realize my mistake, now that it's much… much too late

Too late to do the proper things…,
to say the words I wished I'd said

Too late to cherish them over, and above all other things
Too late to tuck them snugly in bed

To hold them tightly, to kiss them goodnight
Too late to see the happiness on their faces

Too late for me to set things right…
Too late to tie their tiny shoelaces

Too late to savor them clinging tightly to me
In fright at the monsters on 'Lost In Space'

Too late to wonder at their amazing resilience
As I looked down upon their angelic sleeping faces

They are blessed with selective memories that…
Remember only the good and not the bad

Thank God for the knowing that they remember me kindly
But no matter their memories…I'll always feel sad

For I look at old photos of them
And my old heart slowly breaks

At all the things I should have done back then
And of all my past mistakes


Now it's too late to tell them Of Fairies and moonbeams…
and sparkling stardust and of Angel wings

I was never one for my kids to look up to…
I can only grow old and… never forget

That I never did enough of these fatherly things
And I'll forever be one to look back and regret

Submitted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Edited: Sunday, October 14, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

The story is my children (and maybe yours too) I wrote this late in life (too late I suppose) I dedicate it to children who had, or have parents like I was. I was inspired by the death of my youngest daughter near her 16th birthday. A death I might have prevented had I acted sooner. I will live with that fact on my conscience for the rest of my life.

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