Phyllis McGinley

(1905-1978 / United States)

First Lesson


The first thing to remember about fathers is, they're men.
A girl has to keep it in mind.
They are dragon-seekers, bent on impossible rescues.
Scratch any father, you find
Someone chock-full of qualms and romantic terrors,
Believing change is a threat -
Like your first shoes with heel on, like your first bicycle
It took months to get.
Walk in strange woods, they warn you about the snakes there.
Climb and they fear you'll fall.
Books, angular looks, swimming in deep water -
Fathers mistrust them all.
Men are the worriers. It is difficult for them
To learn what they must learn:
How you have a journey to take and very likely,
For a while, will not return.

Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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