My Father

he slipped away
into that non-judgemental night
he slipped away again

I was not called to his bedside

 there was no face-to-face
just “make me a list”
of the pimping
the using to procure women
the manhandling of his grand daughter
this was not a nice man
yet he shmoosed his way around
into My Child’s Heart
I looked for his praise

 his true nature
came to Me after The Death of My Brother
The Only Son
when the gleam of avarice
came to my father
as he realized he inherited
all My Brother’s property
property which had once belonged
to My Mother’s parents

 I felt helpless
before my father died
I feel helpless now
except that I can write
I can write out my father’s life
and I can
write out my father’s death

 he was one of those children
of the rich and famous
who was a sociopath

 he thrived on the sympathy he got
when he told any and everyone
both his children
were mentally ill

 I thought my parents loved Me
maybe my mother did
but my father did not
he said “I love you”
at long distances

 I will not sink into a depression
over my father
who was not worth
anyone sinking into anything
he was a user, an abuser
a shirker
a jerk

 his faults were glossed over, protected by his family

 he had a hobby of hunting
smooth round rocks
on the shores of Nova Scotia
he didn’t want me walking along the beach
with him

 my father was a sperm donor
at the side of a rock pool
at the base of a waterfall

 that insemination was Me

Joanna Hyde
February 15th 2012   The Hawk


  1. W Hunter Blair

    I don’t know quite what to say about this poem. The essence of the man has been caught,encapsulated, in a few powerful words. “Powerful” is not strong enough but it is the best I can do. In its way it is among your most savage yet most true work. In a way I hope this is the end of this type of writing and I wait with wonder to see what comes next.

  2. Jill Joy

    Hi Joanna,

    I’ve been thinking about what comment to post on this poem that doesn’t sound trite. Or pat. Or made up. It’s rare to encounter a work of art of such raw honesty and pain.

    Although my father is probably not classifiable as a sociopath, he abandoned me just as thoroughly as it sounds like your father did you. To have that experience leaves one fraught with a myriad of conflicting emotions that would not resolve merely with a physical death.

    For me the path to healing has been to confront those emotions directly, just as you do in this poem. And there is raw power in it.

    You reference the second coming in your comment on my Grief painting. I’m not a Christian in the modern sense of the word, but I do believe that Christ or Jesus was a powerful spiritual master and also a mystic. So for me the second coming is not a literal event where Jesus would return to save me from my self imposed prison, but rather the visitation of enlightened thought to each of us personally. So that we are each become free without the need of an external guide like Christ.

    Christ said:

    Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    Matthew 10:34-37

    In the Tarot the Sword represents the mind and discernment.

    I believe that human relationships are temporal. But our relationship to the divine is eternal and to find freedom from our conditioning and mental bondage it is with the latter that we must align. However each of us conceives the divine is up to us and very personal. When Jesus said the above, I don’t think it meant necessarily a literal turning against the father and the mother, but a putting aside of what they taught us to believe about ourselves and the seeking of “source” or “unconditional love” from them. Because to find true freedom or enlightenment or heaven or whatever you want to call it, I believe I must place my quest for love where it belongs — with my divine Source which is an aspect of me. And this is more or less what I interpret Jesus to be saying here.

    That being said, those of us with parents who could not love properly, get a “leg up”, in a painful sense, on what Jesus is asking us to do here. To remain joined with our parents and identified what they teach us about ourselves with their abandonment or neediness condemns us to a sort of living hell. And so we must physically as well as metaphorically turn against them. Eckhart Tolle said something in one of his books I believe about the steep and challenging path being also, possibly, the most spiritually fruitful. For it gives us the most pain and therefore the strongest impetus to separate our idea of our true selves from our conditioned mind (which basically tells us we are un-loveable which is reinforced either in action or word by those who raised us when those relationships are abusive).

    And so once again I salute you my dear Joanna, as we climb our steep but parallel mountain paths through the darkness and into the light of giving ourselves the love those who raised us were incapable of giving.


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