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About this Poem 

“Father’s Song” was published in The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2002).

Father's Song

Yesterday, against admonishment,
my daughter balanced on the couch back,
fell and cut her mouth.

Because I saw it happen I knew
she was not hurt, and yet
a child's blood so red
it stops a father's heart.

My daughter cried her tears;
I held some ice
against her lip.
That was the end of it.

Round and round: bow and kiss.
I try to teach her caution;
she tries to teach me risk. 

From The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems by Gregory Orr. Copyright © 2002 by Gregory Orr. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.

From The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems by Gregory Orr. Copyright © 2002 by Gregory Orr. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.

Gregory Orr

Gregory Orr

The author of numerous collections of poetry, Gregory Orr is considered by many to be a master of short, lyric free verse.

by this poet

poem
A house just like his mother's,
But made of words.
Everything he could remember
Inside it:
Parrots and a bowl
Of peaches, and the bright rug
His grandmother wove.

Shadows also—mysteries
And secrets.
Corridors
Only ghosts patrol.
And did I mention
Strawberry jam and toast?

Did I mention
That everyone he loved
poem
This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.

No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.

No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.

No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.

That,
poem
I know now the beloved
Has no fixed abode,
That each body 
She inhabits
Is only a temporary
Home.
             That she
Casts off forms
As eagerly
As lovers shed clothes.

I accept that he's
Just passing through
That flower
Or that stone.

And yet, it makes 
Me dizzy—
The way he hides
In the flow of it,
The way