Tuesday, July 13, 2010

boys, men & other lichen

if my boys ask
i would say
this world needs
more men,
not couch hugging lichen
with nothing better to do
than pick lint from
their navel
and play fiddle sticks
with what little manhood
they have left,
between their legs...

but since they are
five and seven
(and not ready for
such strong words)

if my boys ask
i would say
a man
loves the one
he's been given,
leads the family he has,
works an honest days sweat
and drinks deep
from life's chalice,
savoring every drop
so he can sleep well
each night...


but if my boys have to ask
i have failed already.

This poem is for One Shot Wednesday, a new gathering place for poets & writers to showcase their talents. Post a poem today and come join us. Mr. Linky opens at 5pm EST.

125 comments:

Travel & Dive Girl said...

Beautiful, but rest assured - you have not failed.

Kaylen said...

With such a wonderful role model as yourself, how could they not be great men?? :)

Maybe we need couch hugging lichen in order to understand why it's so important for the rest of humanity to be good and do good. Not your boys of course---but other boys wlll be couch hugging lichen...

California Girl said...

you never fail to surprise me with your ability to express yourself through poetry.

Bonnie said...

Love the way you think Brian ... and you DO have a knack for expressing it! Cudos

Maggie said...

That was a great poem Brian. You are a wonderful man and a perfect role model for your children. :)

Okie said...

This is a great and very thoughtful poem. I love it.

The Urban Cowboy said...

I love this Brian, it truly describes a man in simple yet eloquent words that anyone can understand.

Steven Anthony said...

this was simple, and to the point, describing a man/father perfectly.....well done my friend

Bernie said...

WOW....what a poem! Love the message ...... :-) hugs

Kathy's Klothesline said...

And I keep wanting to put your words to music ....... "playing fiddlesticks.....". Thanks for the visual!!

Poetikat said...

The final statement is profound and perceptive. Wonderful!

lakeviewer said...

Man oh man, you said it all!

heartspell said...

That they asked you is the proof of who they trust with the answer... it is great that they would ask their father and not some mesmerizing fly-by-night peer... who knows what answer they may get! heartspell

Titanium said...

Your boys have an excellent example to follow and their curious and questioning eyes and voices find satisfaction in the life you live.

Matty said...

but if my boys have to ask
i have failed already.

This is the best part of the whole poem Brian. Leading by example says more than words ever could.

Well done. A great lesson.

Birdie said...

I'm still in amazement (and reflection) of your previous post and here you go again :-) beautiful, Brian ... as always!

Caty said...

It's hard to even imagine that you could fail with your boys. Great poem...the best ones come from the heart :)

Prayer Girl said...

What wonderful sentiments. Your little guys are lucky boys!!!

PG

drybottomgirl said...

Great imagery, and I love the use of the word "chalice" just as you used "balm" yesterday. (Can you tell I have a BA in English?) Words are awesome! Your sons will reward you when they are older because they were lead by example. What a pricless gift you will give them. This reminded me of John Mayer's "Daughters"...we have to set the example of how to treat people and how we want to be treated because they may be parents too someday.....(although my oldest swears I have ruined him for having children by babysitting his younger siblings, he wants to travel the world and tells me "no kids" :) time will tell.....

slommler said...

Good point and well said!! And I might add that boys need GOOD role models!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Nessa said...

goose bumpily

Tina said...

You have not failed if they ask. It's then that you know you have succeeded. If they're looking to you for answers, then you are the man and not the lichen. Loved this.

Ed Pilolla said...

lovely. who wrote that song from back in the day: love the one you're with.
always a pleasure to read you.

CM said...

Kaylen already took my line! With a father like you as a role model, I'm sure they'll be fine.

Ruth said...

It's a beautiful mystery, what a man is, and how a boy becomes one. Lead on, in the mystery of responsibility balanced with spontaneity.

william said...

brian you said it all here, and you are quite right, the world is a mess, its time we put it right, great post :)

moondustwriter said...

Bri- One thing I know those boys of yours have an outstanding role model.
I can't imagine you hugging any couch you are too busy playing with those kiddos

Happy One Shot Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Moon Smiles

Tom said...

ha ha...someday you can tell them what you really think

otin said...

You are really getting deep lately! Good stuff!

Tracy said...

Well done!

Baino said...

Interesting. Although you won't know whether you've succeeded or failed until they're men. I think they'll do just fine.

blueviolet said...

We always have to hope for better for our kids, don't we?

Pat said...

Glad your not one of those couch potatoes playing fiddlesticks between your legs! Well said, my man, well said!

JH_Poetry said...

This was funny, but serious at the same time. I like how you combined the two...thanks for sharing

Daniel said...

Lichen is a fungus, right? Good visual. Playing fiddlesticks. Yeah I understand that too. Sometimes it takes real work to be a real man and to pass it on.

Captain Dumbass said...

As the father of a five and seven year old, I loved this. Loved it with a dose of fear that I'm always failing but hoping they love me just the same.

anthonynorth said...

That's good advice.

Just Be Real said...

Well done Brian. Blessings.

Mighty M said...

I love this - perfect! You are raising your boys to be fine young men, just like yourself!!

TALON said...

You're sons are lucky to have you as their father, Brian. Something tells me they'll never have to ask :)

It seems like only yesterday our two sons were 5 and 7 and yet now they are young men of 24 and 26. Time sure has wings.

Mory said...

man, you are the sort of Dad every teenage dream of.

great work!

starla said...

I really like that a lot makes me think of Navar it's too bad he does not a Father. He will be teaching soon so he can touch lives that way. It's funny I think children especially watch how we are and what we do and learn from our examples of how we live our lives.

Starla

Anonymous said...

Is not a father. Shoot I thought I proofread that comment. Oh well gives me a second chance to say how much I enjoy your post. Lichen what a great reference.

Starla

Kira Stann said...

Oh boy, this poem says it all! This is one the most favorite poems I have ever read!

Bridgette said...

I seriously doubt you have failed!

Monkey Man said...

Chop wood. Carry water. Your example shines.

Unknown Mami said...

You're pretty awesome and I'm sure your boys are too.

SuziCate said...

Very well said, but you don't need to say it because you live it so your boys won't ask. Your boys will grow up to be very proud and thankful to have you as their dad.

sheri said...

my dear brian, to hear you say that you have failed already is understandable because of the One you measure yourself against. but what i see is a wonderful man who gets up everyday and sets his face like flint to be the man he knows he is! the only time we really fail is when we give up the struggle to 'become'...

Tony Single said...

I would totally be a dad so that I could mess up my kids with the total amount of messed upness that I can muster! What fun!

Did I just type that out loud? :(

Mama Zen said...

This is one of your best. But, then, I could pretty much say that every day!

Emmanuel Ibok said...

...and even if you think you've failed, there is success in your failure...and this success should be celebrated even more than the thought of failure.

Emmanuel Ibok said...

...and even if you think you've failed, there is success in your failure...and this success should be celebrated even more than the thought of failure.

signed...bkm said...

Great read and insightful piece Brian... I have a son, and thankfully he grew to be a fine young man...be a strong father..be a loving hand...hand them your strength put never let them know, let them believe it is their own and when they grow to be men they will know where it actually came from...bkm

Dianne said...

ok, the last line finally made it into my nonsensical brain.
following in your footsteps
Dianne

Eva Gallant said...

Wowser! You said it so well...boys need good role models!
And yours are lucky to have you.

Donnetta Lee said...

Nah-you haven't failed, Brian. But just wait til they hit 12 or so! That's when I really began to doubt. Oh, my. But somehow we all lived through it. D

Luisa Doraz said...

You kids can smile knowing that their dad speaks from the heart. :)

The Retired One said...

No, no...if they ask that means you have raised boys who feel at ease to ask you anything and who want to learn from others...no failure there at all!!!!But excellent advice either way to them!!! Wonderful piece, Brian.

THE BEATY said...

don't worry brian I'm sure your kids are fine

Cloudia said...

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Magpie said...

Wonderful and so true...I don't think your boys will have to ask. :)

Linda said...

That's a very nice poem, and you must be great father. I suspect they won't have to ask.

Devika said...

good poem, Brian :)

men or women-- this world needs some "real" stuff :)

wishes,
devika

Susan Deborah said...

The first stanza: Ugh.

But in the core of the poem lies every father's (is it a sweeping generalisation?) deepest desire not to fail his children.

Let the boys say!

Joy always,
Susan

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

You summed up so many guys that don't realize what they have in their lives and recognize it as a blessing.

No, my friend, you haven't failed at all. To express those words means that those words will one day reach your sons ears too.

Lori said...

I love your words Brian. So very true. Your boys are blessed to have a father such as you!

Mona said...

You are right...boy have to know, by example set by your behavior and also your upbringing of them!

Christina said...

Very well said Brian. Beautiful and true.

desk49 said...

A tall order to fill.

adeeyoyo said...

You have such originality, Brian, from the hilarious first stanza to the sobering, serious third and fourth. Brilliant poem from a brilliant mind! Thanks so much.

Artist Inside Out said...

This is a winner, Brian. I love the contrasts, and the end is full of wisdom.

Bubbie said...

Wow - so good to drop by and read such outstanding prose. You never disappoint.

Cindy said...

Beautifully written. The lichen reminded me of bar-clinging aphids :)

Pete Marshall said...

you and me both.....another greatly crafted piece that expresses such hopes...Bri we may feel failures but perhaps our legacy's are in our words

Patience said...

"...& other lichen," awesome title, image. I'd have to agree with you on the the lack of 'manhood,' these days, though thankfully I know very many good men. Sounds like you'll do just fine with your boys.

Zuzana said...

That was beautiful; it is good to be back and read some quality writing again.;)
In some way this short poem brought to mind one of my favorite poems of all, called "if" by Rudyard Kipling.;))
Have a great day Brian,
xoxo

Eternally Distracted said...

Fabulous as usual Brian, your last sentence just makes it absolutely fabulous... Your boys are very lucky little men :0)

tracyhsays.com said...

From one father to another...Well said! Your boys are blessed.

Tracy H

Austin said...

I enjoyed this

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Strong words are remembered and understood later. Well felt. -j

tony said...

A Real Man Is One Who Realises Life Is Unfinished Business.

Lorraine said...

If you fail Brian, there is no hope for anyone...anything done with Love never fails, dontcha know

LadyFi said...

I love this - so full of wisdom and love.

Vicki Lane said...

Well said, as always!

JStar said...

Brian...I wish there were more fathers like you...To show them how a REAL man is supposed to be...

Mr. Stupid said...

This was great. Love the way you think Brian. Your sons are lucky to have you as their dad. And, you have not failed.

Caroline said...

i think the world's men should ask you, your sons have you in their blood, they are destined for greatness...very enlightening!

faery of the wilds said...

sadly true but strong

secret agent woman said...

It's the same definition you'd want to give of a woman if you had daughters.

Wild Rose said...

Lovely write Brian just came from onestop and linked back to your blog. Am wondering if you will accompany this piece with girls, women and the rest :)

AmyLK said...

You have not failed. They will learn by your excellent example. Love the poem!

G-Man said...

Well...
If they DO ask, at least you have an answer ready...:-)

ladynimue said...

the second time i am on your blog and i am totally impressed !! i love this :)

Candie Bracci said...

so touching.Don't be so harsh,everyone does what he can with what he has and knows,and whatever you do,you never fail in the end.You're a great person full of talent.Have a nice day.Keep smiling.

TechnoBabe said...

There is no failure in asking, to me the fault would be in boys not being interested in learning how to grow into wise and honorable men.

Deidra said...

yes.
along with a bit of laughter.
i love all of this.
every last bit.

blackwatertown said...

Very thoughtful and well put. Good rhythm too.

The Bug said...

That's the really scary part about being a parent - & perhaps why I never had the guts to try it myself. Me, an example? I seriously doubt it. What's funny is that according to my beliefs about God and the church I AM an example - bringing God to the world. Hmm - maybe that sounds less stressful than raising children?

heatblast said...

Pray, in a few more years' time, that they would ask you what it is to be a man. Clever use of words in your first stanza by the way! LOL! Been exposed to strong language since their age, though not in English. Great stuff at work here!

Claudia said...

Such strong words - and such true words
If you would let me guess, I think your boys can look up to you and take you as a role model for real manhood

divisoria said...

i literally felt my face change in expression from amused to contemplative...

nicely done brian.

you're the "MAN"

betweenhearts75 said...

You sound like a GREAT dad!!! Definitely not a fail, written so well in this, you project your thoughts (inner) and what you wish and project to them. Such a reward to set much aside, and grant them hope and vision. Excellent writing!

soundoffreedom said...

ok all I can say is Amen!

steveroni said...

I believe your boys know who their father is, and I do not mean "who", as "in the lineup" but really really W H O you are, and W H A T and that is a beautiful thing!

kavisionz said...

Umm... who says you've failed?!
Show them to me.. I'll gun them down!

If you can deliver this to your boys, you've given them half the world! The other half is for them to take, which they will!!

What a fantastic poem, Brian!! Phew!!!
What words.. what thoughts... just plain damn brilliant!!!

Have a great time with your family!!!

Brian Miller said...

smiles. thanks for all the love today friends...i would say i dont think i have failed, but there is that fear in the back of the mind that i might...perhas that keeps me straight...the captain summed it up well...

mama-face said...

and how to change a tire... :)

Vodka Logic said...

wow great words again. Lead by example how true.
xx

PattiKen said...

I'm sure your boys will follow the excellent example set by their dad and become men who will make you proud. No question in my mind at all.

Paul C said...

A father who 'drinks deep
from life's chalice' and is there actively for his family. Great theme here.

joanny said...

Beautiful Brian, tender touching life is sweet, our children mirror us back-- a little Haiku from another author somewhere... as it reads:
I kill an ant
and realize my three children
have been watching.

When it comes to raising children, we need to beware of our shadows. You are aware of yours and that is a good thing.

Joanny

Fireblossom said...

Oh, I don't know about that. I raised a boy and sometimes they ask just to test their reality, to see if you'll say what they've already decided (or decided against).

Lichen. Love it.

Pastor Bill said...

Rich in sentiment. I appreciate the image of drinking from life's chalice. Links the ordinary to the sacred. - Bill

Syd said...

Ah dude, I don't think that you have failed. Because you recognize what a man is, then you are one.

Jessie said...

i agree with you. i believe in teaching through love and actions, although there is always an exception.

stellar poem!

smiles,

Otter Thomas said...

Fantastic post! Maybe my favorite of yours. I am sure your boys won't ever ask because you will show them the way.

only a movie said...

Fabulous. What a great dad you are.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Big sigh! Love this one. I'm sending it to my brother who's a father to two boys, 13 and 15. This is a great reminder.

jj

Rose said...

Beautiful! I hope your sons never ask.

Twilark said...

This is so very sensitive to their needs, a beautiful and very moving poem. Val

Angie Muresan said...

Oh Brian, I have to agree with everyone else. You are an amazing example for your boys. Love this poem!

riikainfinityy.com said...

You are a wonderful father=) Thank for sharing such a wonderful poem :) This really show how much you love and treasure them =3

mairmusic said...

Nicely written. Bringing up boys is a special joy! Glad to be here @ One Shot Wednesday, regardless of the consequences...
http://mairmusic.wordpress.com/

Marla said...

Beautiful, Brian. You are such a good daddy.