Yesterday Poem by William Stanley Merwin

Yesterday

Rating: 4.9


My friend says I was not a good son
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room
to get something to give me

oh I say
feeling again the cold
of my father's hand the last time

he says and my father turned
in the doorway and saw me
look at my wristwatch and he
said you know I would like you to stay
and talk with me

oh yes I say

but if you are busy he said
I don't want you to feel that you
have to
just because I'm here

I say nothing

he says my father
said maybe
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I don't want to keep you

I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
you know

though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Michael Walker 10 August 2019

A strained, but often typical, father-son relationship. It could be better.

0 0 Reply
Kelly Kurt 24 March 2015

I was moved. I have been that son and that father

0 0 Reply
Michael Shepherd 28 November 2008

This poem gives me that 'beautiful pain' that comes with truth-telling..

3 0 Reply
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William Stanley Merwin

William Stanley Merwin

New York / United States
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