Poetry Friday–Father’s Day and Change

1-Father and son fishing-6-17-2020

Father and Son Fishing, © 2020 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and pen.

Happy Poetry Friday

Happy Father’s Day
to all Dad’s out there, and in our memories…

And for June 19th,
Sign a petition

Visit nextgen america and sign their petition to have Juneteenth, “Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Black Fourth of July” designated “as a national day of observance as part of the fight for racial justice.” On this day, in 1865, two and half years after the initial Emancipation Proclamation was created, emancipation for enslaved African Americans finally reached  “the most isolated part of the nation” in Texas, and they were “informed of their liberation from slavery.” Juneteenth stands as a celebration of change–” and there’s much change that must happen!



Our fathers who 

tried when all else failed, 
Moved mountains of love and 
understanding despite our obstinance,   
Provided shoulders of comfort 
in turbulent teenage times… 
Balanced discord of others 
with caring guidance, 
Wrapped love around our mother’s 
honestly and passionately, 
Schooled us in empathy, compassion, 
and inclusiveness for all humanity, 
Were walked on, knocked down, but rose up
and again, and again… 
Encouraged our passions and 
always kept them alive…

© 2020 Michelle Kogan


A Father’s Day poem by Cuban American poet Orlando Ricardo Menes

By Orlando Ricardo Menes

In your uncle’s workshop by Havana Bay,
Your pudgy hands, stubby fingers turning
Lithe with wood, cloth, springs, bone, coir,
Your life a reverence to sawdust and burl
As you labored each day in the heat and the light,
Standing on a plank jacked up by bricks,
A ring of tools cuffed to your small wrist,
Your palms and soles callused to stone
As you fluted gadroons, flounced damask,
Beat down unruly tacks to martial rivets.
                                                        O padre mío,
I learned to craft words watching you sew
With the finest thread and not leave a trace—

Read the rest of the poem here


I was very taken by Terrance Hayes’ powerful poem GEORGE FLOYD:

You can be a bother who dyes
his hair Dennis Rodman blue
in the face of the man kneeling in blue
in the face the music of his wrist-
watch your mouth is little more
than a door being knocked
out of the ring of fire around
the afternoon came evening’s bell
of the ball and chain around the neck

Read the rest of the poem here.  There’s also an audio recording read by the poet.  




Tricial Stohr-Hunt at her blog,  The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday roundup, thanks for hosting Tricia! She’s sharing a golden shovel poem she built from a line taken from T. S. Eliot’s poem  The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Be sure to stop by her blog for all the poetry collected there.

Visit Renée LaTulippe’s site No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.



About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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17 Responses to Poetry Friday–Father’s Day and Change

  1. Gail Aldous says:

    Michelle, your beautiful watercolor reminds me of the times I spent fishing with my dad and grandfather, and how my daughters also spent time fishing with their father, grandfather, and uncle. I never realized it became a tradition until just now. Thank you. Your poem is honest and emotional, a beautiful tribute to fathers! It again reminds me of my father and how he encouraged my passion-writing. Orlando’s poem brought his imagery to life right in front of me! It’s an outstanding tribute to fathers and about a father who also influenced the passion of writing. Terrance’s poem is raw emotion and powerful! I’m not sure if I understand all of it, though. Thank you for sharing your painting and these moving poems! So much to think about. You have inspired me to write a poem for my husband.

  2. Sally Murphy says:

    Michelle, your post is rich with layers, celebrations and truths. And the song choice – perfect!

  3. Mitchell Linda says:

    I agree with Sally…the layers of this post are rich. The fathers….we celebrate. The boys they once were did not do all the things that we grieve today. They were taught to love, too. We need to keep coming back to that. We do have so much more in common. I think the threads of your post say that. I am grateful.

  4. Fran Haley says:

    There’s such beauty intermingled with raw ugliness of hard truth here in this poetry sampler, but that is the point of life, I think – to know there is better and to see things for what they are, if they are ever to BE better. I am struck by the love in Father’s Perseverance, that for his child, and of his child for him: “Moved mountains of love and understanding despite our obstinance” – especially in those teenage times, yes. The word “forebearance” comes to mind … and “forebears” … Again the love of father/child and child/father echoes so hauntingly in Menes’ words – here “sacrifice” comes to mind. Hayes … haunting in its terrible truth. But truth can change, and I go back to that word, “sacrifice” – what are we collectively willing to give to change? It comes, as does love, with a cost. Lastly – your watercolor imparts such a needed sense of peace, the father and son carving out a treasured moment together. I love that image.

  5. Thank you for sharing these powerful poems, Michelle. Father’s day is sometimes forgotten (compared to Mother’s day), but your poem is a great example of the perseverance dad’s show despite all odds. Your line “in turbulent teenage times…” resonates with me as my husband endured an especially rough patch during our older daughter’s journey through adolescence. (I’m happy to say she is 23 now and understands – on a level – what she put her dad through…sort of 😉

  6. lindabaie says:

    Father’s Day is special to me because mine died in World War II, but I was fortunate to have wonderful grandfathers & then a wonderful step-father. Now I can also celebrate my son & son-in-law. I love your poem, Michelle & the others, poignant, nostalgic & gratitude reigns and your painting, too, a memory for some of us. I used to fish with an uncle long ago. This touched me mightily: “Papá, my poet of hammer, needle, and shears.” Thank you!

  7. janicescully says:

    This is a wonderful post, Michelle! The reading of George Floyd was powerful and way Hayes linked images together into a verbal montage was remarkable. Your poem was a sweet reminder of how our fathers, parents, persevere, something children are not aware of. Happy Father’s Day!

  8. jama says:

    Thank you for this fabulous post honoring fathers. Love your watercolor painting (those worms are great!), and your poem is a rousing tribute to the care, inspiration and fortitude fathers bring to families. Hayes’s poem is indeed powerful and timely — the way he linked images and references from line to line spoke of the continuity/relentlessness of injustice and sorrow.

  9. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, I came by to read your poems and like your post and then forgot to add my comments. I was taken by the beauty of your drawing of ordinary life and the deep relationship between the father and son: the modeling, the patience, the grace of fingers holding the worm, and the little boy looking toward the Daddy. This was followed by three strong poems, each different in their own right. Enjoy your weekend.

  10. mbhmaine says:

    Michelle, what a rich, complicated post! I was struck especially by the sweet togetherness of your painting and the poem by Orlando Ricardo Menes. His word choice and imagery is so powerful! Thanks for the introduction!

  11. margaretsmn says:

    I love the form of your poem, our fathers who… a list of all the best things when you have a father who puts you above his own shoulders so you think you’re the one driving. I was drawn to the poem by Terrance Hayes, its echoing quality that is haunting and powerful. Thanks for your multi-layered post.

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