Happy birthday, dad

My father’s birthday is today. Some years ago, Grace Paley wrote a poem describing what her father was like when he was the same age as my father is now. I discovered that by changing a few words, and adding a few words, the poem applies pretty well to my own father (at least, before January 20 of this year):


My father said
          how will they get out of it
          they should be sorry they got in

My father says
          how will they get out
          Cheney Bush    the whole bunch
          they don’t know how

goddammit he says
          I’d give anything to see it
          they went in over their heads

he says
          greed    greed    time
          nothing is happening fast enough


What are the changed words, you ask? I’ll let you look up the poem yourself, in Paley’s book Leaning Forward (Penobscot, Maine: Granite Press, 1985), p. 69. Hint: Paley’s poem was written c. 1970; the political leaders of that time were more aware of their errors in judgment than are Cheney and Bush.

1 thought on “Happy birthday, dad

  1. Dad

    Thanks for the birthday wishes. I went to a performance of La Traviata which was in a church in Rome with the acoustics one would expect in a large stone church sanctuary. The voices resonated and it was enthralling. A splendid substitute for a conventional birthday party.

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