A Father’s Lament

Author: Kieran Furey

My son is thirteen. For the purposes of this poem, I imagined him at twenty-three. It was first published in 'Poetry Ireland Review' in August 2006.

I gave him his start in life.
He keeps threatening to pay me back.

I gave him good example.
He gave me head lice.

I gave him toys.
He gave me an ulcer.

I tucked him up in bed.
He gave me a wide berth.

I gave him a good name.
He called me a so-and-so.

I gave him pocket money.
He asked for twice as much.

I lent him my car.
He wrapped it round a pole.

I bought him books.
He accused me of trying to brainwash him.

I taught him everything he knows.
He says I know nothing.

I paid for his holidays.
He missed the flight.

I sent him to university.
He studied wine, women and song.

I wanted him to be like me.
He turned out good-looking.

I was always on his back.
He told me where to get off.

I accused him of being stubborn.
He refused to listen to me.

I wanted him to look up to me.
He’s a head taller than me.

I wanted him to be a new departure.
He’s still living at home.

I tried to put him in his place in a poem.
He answered me back in every other line.