I may have borne them each, but it was you,
Whose shoulders carried weight I never knew,
You set the bar so high, so straight, so true,
The surest, strongest Dad?  Well, that was you.

I may have dried their tears, but it was you,
Who made them get back up and push on through,
Who taught them well, the skill of making do,
That common sense they have, they got from you.

I may have spoken more, but it was you,
Who guided them in wisdom as they grew,
Who showed them lifelong paths they could pursue,
Whichever route they take, they’ll follow you.

I may have never made it clear to you,
How priceless you are, from my point of view.
Their father, but my treasured husband too . . .
I never knew such love, ‘til I knew you.


Amy Foreman hails from the southern Arizona desert, where she homesteads with her husband and seven children.  She has enjoyed teaching both English and Music at the college level, but is now focused on home-schooling her children, gardening, farming, and writing. Her blog is theoccasionalcaesura.wordpress.com

NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to mbryant@classicalpoets.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.

72 Responses

    • Amy Foreman

      . . . As is your poetry, Joe! Thanks for the delightful comment!

  1. James A. Tweedie

    Lovely thoughts, Amy, and eloquently expressed. I have no doubt your children agree with you! Happy Father’s Day to all.

  2. J. Simon Harris

    A beautiful tribute to the father of your children. Today is my second father’s day as a father, which makes me appreciate this poem even more. I like that every stanza begins and ends with a rhyme on “you”. Happy Father’s Day to your husband and all other dads out there!

    • Amy Foreman

      Thank you, J. Simon Harris, and I hope you have many more wonderful Father’s Days!

  3. Mick

    I am sorry, Amy, but this is doggerel, thumping verse of the worst kind.

    • Monty

      Wouldn’t you agree, Mick, that such a strong claim deserves an explanation? In which context do ya see it as ‘doggerel’? And what makes ya see it as ‘verse of the worst kind’? I’m curious . .

    • Amy Foreman

      Thank you, Mick, for your honest assessment. This poem is heartfelt sentiment, which could, perhaps, be considered cheesy–not necessarily the loftier fare some might be looking for. Let me encourage you, though, to not judge this site based on my Father’s Day poem; there are many other, better poets here, whose works you are sure to enjoy. Have a wonderful day!

      • J. Simon Harris

        That’s very gracious of you, Amy. Criticism is only useful when it is specific and courteous. Although Mick is entitled to his opinion, his criticism is severely lacking. I invite him to write a respectful follow-up detailing what he doesn’t like about the poem and why, anything he does like and why, and his opinion as to how it might be improved. Otherwise, such criticism isn’t worth listening to.

    • Joe Tessitore

      This is the definition of a heartfelt poem and it was written by a poet of the very first rank.
      It’s troubling that you missed it so completely.

      • Amy Foreman

        Thank you, Monty, J. Simon, and Joe, for the votes of confidence. 🙂

  4. Fr. Richard Libby

    What a wonderful tribute! It’s well written and touching. Congratulations, Mrs. Foreman!

  5. Janice Canerdy

    Amy, this is an excellent poem. I love it. I find not ONE word
    I would change. This morning my pastor included a wonderful
    Father’s Day poem, but it wasn’t as good as yours.

    I see you are the type of person who takes the high road when
    criticized. You go, girl!! 🙂

    • Amy Foreman

      Thank you, Janice, for your kind compliment!

      I have found that any criticism on a writer’s work helps to refine it, helps the poet to step back and say, “Are there ways I could have done this better?” Sometimes we’ll decide to leave things as they are, simply because we like them that way no matter what the rest of the world thinks, and sometimes we’ll decide to exchange our original words for new words or phrasings that are a better fit.

      Either way, listening to a criticism gives us the opportunity to use a different lens to view what we have written, and to gain perspective. I have learned much from both the compliments and the criticisms (which have usually been very mild!) given to me on the SCP. It’s a gift to be able to read our work through another person’s eyes. 🙂

  6. C.B. Anderson

    Yes, perhaps this poem was a bit Hallmarkish, but it resonated with love and sincerity, and it’s technically pretty damn good. Your husband is a lucky man.

    • C.B. Anderson

      I might add that the poem was thematically coherent, which, in my estimation, is a very good thing. Until Mick sharpens his animadversions, we must conclude that, as the expression goes, he has a hair across his ass.

    • Amy Foreman

      It’s funny, C.B., but I used the very word “Hallmark-ish” when I presented the poem to my husband, and he laughed and said he liked it anyhow! Thanks for your analysis. Sometimes we’re not necessarily trying to move heaven and earth with a poem, just give a little something sweet to someone we love . . .

  7. David Watt

    The rhythm in this Father’s Day is regular and beautifully expressed, quite the opposite of doggerel’s definition. For Father’s Day (in September here), your poem stands as a fitting tribute.

  8. Monty

    I agree, Amy . . it goes without saying that ‘constructive criticism’ can be noted and used positively. But to label a piece as doggerel is not criticism; criticism is to explain why and how one sees it as such. And until such time that Mick is able to explain/justify his use of that word . . I personally will only see his comment as that of one seeking attention.

    • Amy Foreman

      Thanks for the support, Monty. I honestly am intrigued by the criticisms and would like to understand more. Count Leo commented to you that this poem “offends the ear.” I appreciate his frank assessment, but it’s simply not specific enough to help me comprehend what I should have done differently to make the poem better.

      Count Leo, Mick, I would be very interested in seeing how either of you might transform this poem into something that would be less offensive and doggerel-ish. You are welcome to rewrite it and post the revision here, so that I can understand where you are coming from, and so that I can make an informed decision on whether I should keep the poem as it is, or alter it. Your perspective, as critics of this poem, is important to me, and I would like to learn from it. Thanks.

      • Leo Yankevich

        Poetasters don’t count, Amy. I don’t have to explain anything to you. Just be a good wife and mother, which you no doubt are. I bet you’re a better person than I am. There is no greater son of bitch than I and George Patton.

    • Monty

      I see that Mr Yankevich has, along with Mick, also failed to see that criticism is worthless without an accompanying explanation.
      As with Mick’s ‘doggerel’ comment, it seems fairly apparent to me that for Mr Yankevich to describe a poem as one which ‘offends the ear’; and then go on to say that ‘no explanation is needed’ . . can only be because he doesn’t have one. I would go further as to hazard a (totally unfounded) guess that he doesn’t even believe what he’s saying.

      If one was to ‘genuinely’ feel so strongly about something to the extent that they’re prepared to accuse another of having ‘tin ears’; then, given half a chance, they wouldn’t hesitate to endorse their comments with an explanation.

      So, come forth, Mick and Mr Yankevich: don’t hide behind the “I don’t have to explain myself” banner. It may be the case that countless readers, having read the poem, are asking themselves: “How can this be doggerel?” “How can this offend the ear?” Enlighten us all . . and show us that ya truly believe in what yer saying.

      p.s. I wrote a personal comment about ‘poetry criticism’ under David Paul Behren’s recent poem ‘Seabirds’.

      • Amy Foreman

        Monty, your “poetry criticism” analysis under the “Seabirds” poem was spot on. Thank you for directing readers to that comment. Very helpful and well-written. And thank you for the “shout out” you gave me there, as well! Blessings —

      • Leo Yankevich

        Listen, Sock-puppet Monty,

        You are a man who has never heard music. You can have a PH.d, but if you’re tin-eared it doesn’t matter. Once again, I am not going to explain to you the mysteries of poetry; perhaps if you sent me a thousand bucks, I would.

      • David Paul Behrens


        Since you deem yourself to be such an expert critic of other people’s poetry, perhaps you could enlighten us by submitting some of your own.
        I mean, besides the eight line masterpiece, ‘Writer’s Clock.’

  9. Lew Icarus Bede

    ‘Tis a bit hall-mawkish; but a gambit I admire. Ms. Foreman’s “Father’s Day, 2018” reminds me of Ann Bradstreet with a bit of spire and spine. Again it reminds me of McGuffey readers, and the rich tradition of overlooked American folk poetry. It could only be doggerel (Mick @ the Mike) in its sentimental attitudes, because the verses are not irregular, nor are the rhymes forced (one single sound throughout, as in a qasida). Ms. Foreman’s tone is close to Victorian attitudes as well. Like Elizabeth Browning, Ms. Foreman neatly extracts the pure and the innocent from the rough and tumble of existence. She herself indirectly notes she is not attempting a larger canvas, as Mr. Salemi attempts in his hardly doggerel work “Olivia and Dorothy Shakspear: a Dialogue”, which, in some respects approaches Robert Browning’s brilliant monologues.

    Now, there is an argument to be made against such verses, like Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade”, but, to use a William James attitude, I don’t buy it. I find the poem unique, refreshing and succinct, and cleverly repetitive. Despite the fact that some might think to like such work requires a tin ear, Ms. Foreman’s talent makes me happy, and mildly proud as an American. Some of us, after all, march to a different tin drum, Gunter Grass, et. al. Such poetry is just not being written now, and so well, and that is why I like it; and it is, as Ms. Foreman indirectly implies, difficult to do without sounding wimpy, whiny, maudlin or mushy.

    But that’s one of the things we have to fight in the English language, that I think only Mr. MacKenzie, in his out-of-control diatribes, has an inkling of on this site (I could be wrong, but who else?), and that T. S. Eliot had a better glimpse of, though perhaps not grasping its full significance: the extreme shift to the exciting scientific attitude inaugurated by 17th-century figures, like Bacon, Boyle, Hooke, Hobbes, and Locke.

    The one thing I wonder about, as the language is so general, and not particular, is the title; which as well is general, even while it is trying to be specific. Even the Victorian poet Robert Browning suggested that his wife publish her love poems under the nomenclature of “Sonnets from the Portuguese” to put some artistic distance between the poems and herself, acute himself to such attacks, having gone through his embarrassing early enthusiasm for Shelley’s poetry in “Pauline”.

    • Amy Foreman

      You are the master of poetic interpretation and explanation! Thank you for your balanced overview of this poem and for your willingness to appreciate the humble sentiments it attempts to convey within its equally humble trappings.

  10. Leo Yankevich

    Fine, I’ll give some pointers; you’re rhyming is goddamn awful: you, through, knew, true.

    Try as much as possible to rhyme on concrete nouns like root, barn, stone and salt. Therein is the alchemy of poetry.

    With best wishes,


    • Monty

      I must confess: If I thought that the term “sock-puppet” had any substance to it, I would’ve eagerly ‘looked it up’ on the spot. But I feared that the meaning would be as inane as the phrase; hence I’ve pretended that I never saw it.

      But, regardless of the inanity itself: the fact that ya chose to use it would suggest that ya’v got yerself into a bit of a lather over the above poem . . which may explain why yer seemingly unaware of what ya’v actually wrote above. In one and the same sentence, ya’v claimed to know the “mysteries of poetry” (ridiculous in itself: the word mystery being subject to interpretation); and would (maybe) sell such mysteries for a disclosed sum . . as if poetry and money were natural bed-fellows. I’ve been avidly reading SCP poetry for 8-9 months now; and I’m quite certain that that’s the first time I’ve seen any ‘money’ connotations on the page. Ya sound very principled about poetry.

      I can’t disguise the absolute relish with which I’m gonna write the following words . . . I’ve played the drums for the last 35 years! And as I wrote those words, a delicious image appeared in my mind . . of me sat at my drums tapping-out a simple beat, and you stood next to me with a mic, chanting ‘Monty’s Never Heard Music’ . . in time to the beat (hopefully). Upon further reflection: maybe I could use it as a marketing ploy: Monty, the Tin-Eared Drummer who’s Never Heard Music. Maybe I could then sell myself for a “thousand bucks”.

      I doubt if you’ll agree, but I personally think it’d be futile for ya to reply to these words, ‘cos everyone who read the last paragraph will know exactly how silly ya felt when ya read that I was a drummer . . that’s understandable. All I ask is that, instead of a reply, ya read another recent poem of Ms Foreman’s: ‘Loving My Neighbor’ . . and if ya can grasp the sentiment sufficiently enough to realise that Name-Calling Before One Knows The Facts is never prudent . . then maybe, in the future, ya can avoid placing yerself into such a hopeless place as the one in which ya now find yerself.

    • Amy Foreman

      Count Leo,

      Thank you for taking time to point out the weaknesses of rhyme you noticed in “Father’s Day 2018.” I understand the Imagist concept of rhyming on concrete nouns, having been drilled in such during my master’s, but I believe that there may be times when abstract language is warranted in poetry. Even Yeats rhymed “true” with “you,” in his romantic poem, “When You Are Old”

      “How many loved your moments of glad grace,
      And loved your beauty with love false or true;
      But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
      And loved the sorrows of your changing face.”

      The only concrete ending rhyme in Yeats’ beautiful poem above is “face,” and yet, for me, the poem is neither jarring nor doggerel-ish.

      I understand that you and I differ in our aesthetic taste: you prefer more flexibility in meter, while I prefer tighter construction of both meter and rhyme. You may not enjoy the common domestic sentiments or “bad poetry” written by poetasters; I often do. My plebeian tin-ear may delight in the very verse you find cloying and singsong, while your more sophisticated ear might favor poetry I find elitist, empty, and dark. Two different sets of ears. Two different perceptions.

      Perhaps there is room for both in modern classical poetry. Perhaps not. Either way, I thank you, sincerely, for your comments. Blessings–

  11. James A. Tweedie

    For Leo re rhyming:


    Doggerel? Pathetic? Tin ear? G-dd-m awful?

    William Shakespeare: Sonnet #1

    And how about these?

    undress/he says
    Magadan/each man

    Randomly selected from poems by Leo Yankevich

    Yes, Leo. I believe you have made your point.

  12. Leo Yankevich

    Ok, I’ll submit to Lew Icarus Bede. I’ll say this poem is what it is: an honest poem from a great heart, but the poem itself is not great art.

    • Amy Foreman

      Witty homophone noted, Leo! And I agree with you; it’s not great art. Even a tin-ear like myself wouldn’t put it forth as such. 😉

  13. Leo Yankevich


    When you’re a great poet you know it. You’re like Muhammad Ali. Below is my translation of a Rilke poem; it’s better than any poem Billy ever wrote:


    They all have mouths that tire,
    bright souls that have no seams.
    And longing (for sin’s mire)
    passes through their dreams.
    Almost alike they stride,
    silent beneath the Tree,
    like intervals inside
    great God’s grand symphony.
    But when one of them rages,
    spread wings set tempests spinning,
    as if God, sculpting ages,
    huge-handed, leafed through pages,
    the dark book of beginning.

    Translated by Leo Yankevich from the German of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

    • James A. Tweedie

      Leo, I agree that much of the Bard’s poetry is lame, but the same can be said of many of his plays. Even so, the honor and respect we bestow on him is more than deserved as tribute to his finest work in both genres. Like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, sometimes he was very, very good, and sometimes he was horrid! Your poetry, on the other hand, is (almost always without fail) beautifully crafted and lyrically elegant. Both you and Amy, each in your own way, humble me by the skill and inspiration that brings your words to life.

  14. Claude I. S. Weber

    1. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is the greatest poetic dramatist of the English language. Study him for poetic power and exquisite prose and you will gain treasures galore.

    2. Yet Shakespeare is but one writer. Others exceed his wealth in so many arenas: Isaac Newton (1642-1727), in his physics prowess, Aristotle (384-322 BC), in his philosophical panorama, Leonhard Euler (1707-1873), in his mathematical fluidity, and…this list goes on to “the crack of doom”.

    3. Where Ms. Foreman surpasses most of the contributors @ SCP is in her metrical dexterity.

    4. Twain-splainin’:

    “Darn, yer tone deef. The fault lies in the brute—
    that there yarn ’bout the barn, stone, salt, and root…”

    5. Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) pointed out in “Democracy in America”:

    “I have noted that Americans, who generally conduct business in clear, incisive language devoid of all ornament and often vulgar in its extreme simplicity are likely to go for bombast when they attempt a poetic style.”

    • James A. Tweedie

      I have seen Rembrandts hanging on the walls of great museums that would have been rotated into the storage vault if they hadn’t been painted by Rembrandt. Even the greatest masters strike out or hit singles every so often. Not every at-bat can be a grand slam. Neither Cymbeline nor Titus Andronicus would ever be performed today had not their author also penned Hamlet and Macbeth. Acknowledging this in no way diminishes the greatness of William Shakespeare as “the greatest poetic dramatist in the English speaking world.” Also, your de Tocqueville quote is spot on and worthy of a commentary thread of its own.

      • Wilude Scabere

        On a Play of Shakespeare’s

        Tennyson died with a copy of it
        in his hand—Cymbeline, the Celtic King!
        In his brief life, John Keats, too, did love it—
        and lovely heroine, sweet Innogen.
        That horrid world, entwined with beauty’s truth,
        filled with the gross and strangest loveliness,
        is rude, baroque, ornate, grotesque, uncouth,
        filled with deceit, pure hearts and ugliness.
        One is repelled both by its violence
        and death; and yet, redemption is there too,
        along with hopeful peace and innocence,
        and glimmers of a spirit coming through.
        It is an odd and awful winter morn
        into which, far off, Jesus Christ is borne.

  15. Leo Yankevich

    Bruce (Claude I. S. Weber),

    I enjoy your commentary. I am not going to hijack this thread. I only wanted to make amends with Amy and give her due homage, but sans delusional praise. Despite your erudition, Bruce, you are tin-eared as well. You can’t learn how to sing; either you can or you can’t.

  16. Monty

    Mr Behrens . . we’re both aware that I haven’t written anything on SCP which would suggest that I “deem myself to be an expert critic”. They’re your words, not mine; keep them to yerself.

    But if we may stay with the word ‘deem’ for the moment; it appears that ya deem that the quality of poetry should be gauged by the quantity of lines . . as if a paltry 8 lines renders a poem inferior. Biggest is Best, ah? How perfectly shallow ya’v revealed yerself to be. I feel quite certain that, upon closer reflection, you’ll regret uttering those words in public; especially in poetry-public! Why don’t ya simply delete ’em before too many people see ’em.

    I will submit further poems to SCP when I see fit. I’ve nothing to prove to you or anyone else . . this is not a poetry showdown. But if ya REALLY wanna see another poem of mine (and I somehow sense that ya REALLY do), look under Bruce Dale Wise’s recent offering: Am-air-ica . . to which I scribbled a few lines in response.

  17. kunta komobola

    LOL. I LEARNED EARLY that poets hate one another, and if they could they’d beat one another to a pulp. What a riot!

  18. E. V.

    Well, thanks for the middle school tour, but we are the Society of Classical Poets; not the Society of Classical Cliques and Boors! We should treat one another with respect and civility. My suggestion: Before posting a negative comment, ask yourself if it’s first possible to HONESTLY say something positive. If not, then reject the “bash & burn” style in favor of “constructive criticism”; i.e., describe specific issues and provide possible solutions. This approach is more conducive to discussion. Despite Leo’s BRUTALLY blunt (rude) assessments, his is the opinion I value highest. My reason is based upon a combination of his literary competence, AND objectivity. He’s nobody’s cheering section. Amy, you wrote a lovely poem, and it did exactly what you wanted it to do. Your poem is a loving tribute to your husband as a man and a father. When I first read it, I, too, thought it sounded like a Hallmark Greeting. However, that’s not a bad thing. The writers for Hallmark earn more than most self-absorbed poets! As long as people enjoy writing Hallmark-Style verse, and (more importantly), there are people who enjoy reading it, then that is a legitimate category within the realm of formal poetry. You see, Amy, Leo, C.B., Monty, David, and all the other writers & readers on SCP, we’re all on the same team. On team Classical Poetry, our goal is to increase our culture’s appreciation for formal verse. This mission will require us to accept diverse forms and styles. I’ll close by saying this to any elitist snob who thinks only “highbrow” verse is qualified to be considered quality traditional poetry: One of the most successful formal poets of our time, Dr. Seuss, wrote for young readers. Yet, HE will be remembered long after our names have disappeared. Peace out.

  19. James Sale

    It’s very important to find the beauty in our friends and colleagues’ work on these pages of SCP so that we can support each other, and enable each other to reach a higher level of poetic accomplishment – wherever our starting point. We have enough problems countering the post-modernists and the nihilists, who defecate on beauty and form, without defecating on each other. I can fully accept that Leo doesn’t like the rhyming, and how to rhyme more effectively is a vital question for these pages to help answer, and build up expertise as we progress. Of course I don’t accept Leo rubbishing Amy’s poem – it is an abuse of his massive abilities. For myself, I like this poem; I like its simplicity; I love its refrain; and I think that Amy’s soul is saturated with a real poetry, which as with everyone else, myself included, can get subverted when our ego takes over and we leave the Muse, but in this instance her poem speaks powerfully. Hallmark it certainly is not.

  20. Leo Yankevich

    “I can fully accept that Leo doesn’t like the rhyming, and how to rhyme more effectively is a vital question for these pages to help answer, and build up expertise as we progress. Of course I don’t accept Leo rubbishing Amy’s poem – it is an abuse of his massive abilities.”

    You are a clown, Sale, just like your name. Do you want to play with me? I’ll take your livelihood away. Kindly just be quite. You are a con man, not a poet.

    • Amy Foreman

      For the Count (a short qasida with cloying, incompetent end rhymes, sent, tongue-in-cheek, from the Father’s Day Dilletante)

      I’ll say this simply, like a child:
      The comments here have grown too wild.
      Count Leo, sore, incensed and riled,
      To “tin-ears,” “clowns” unreconciled,
      I ask one candid question mild:
      “How long a time since last you smiled?”

    • Monty

      “Of course” indeed; and if it was a sense of duty which compelled ya to correct yer own misspelling . . ya may wanna take that same duty back to yer earlier decree to Mr Sale to “Kindly just be ‘quite’”.

      • Amy Foreman

        . . . only if the creative use of contraction in the earlier phrase, “you’re rhyming is g-dd-mn awful:” gets addressed at the same time. 😉

      • Monty

        Well spotted. I’d like to think that it was the nature of the phrase itself which diverted my attention from that little treat. But I’m somehow glad that you saw it first . .

  21. J. Simon Harris

    “…if fortune ever finds you in the midst
    of other people likewise locked in strife:

    to wish to hear it is a vulgar wish.”

    –Dante, Inferno XXX.146-148

      • J. Simon Harris

        Ciardi’s version then:

        “…should it occur again, as we walk on,
        that we find ourselves where others of this crew

        fall to such petty wrangling and upbraiding.
        The wish to hear such baseness is degrading.”

    • Amy Foreman

      I like your translation better, J. Simon Harris, for its iambic pentameter, a meter which appears to be missing or smudged in the Ciardi translation. But that may just be my “tin ear” talking! 😉

  22. James Sale

    I want to see more of Amy’s poetry; and I love J Simon Harris’ translations of Dante and want to read the whole thing. Keep going both of you; you are both doing so well.

    • Amy Foreman

      Thank you, James. And I look forward to reading more of your excellent poetry and prose, as well.

      • James Sale

        Yes, Amy, I agree with you: I much prefer in the example given Simon’s translation (though I haven’t read the rest of Ciardi) and for a simple and obvious reason: the rhyming! The feminine rhyme of upbraiding/degrading does, I think, detract from the seriousness of the verse, and seems forced. Very suitable for Byron’s Don Juan, but less good here.

  23. Monty

    . . And surely the worst dig to make,
    Of all that were made today;
    Was the little-disguised threat to “take
    Ones livelihood away”.

    p.s. I wish I could be bothered to write a longer poem about the effect on humans who watch too many gangster-films.

    • James Sale

      Yes, Monty, thank you – I understand what you are saying. It is so important to keep perspective and balance, yin and yang; or otherwise one falls either in Charybdis or is plucked by Scylla.

    • Amy Foreman

      Indeed, Monty.

      But Mr. Sale,
      The poet, bold,
      Will never quail,
      Remains controlled

      When foes assail,
      When scoffers scold,
      He will prevail
      And never fold.

      The same goes for any who have taken a beating on this thread. Who knew a Father’s Day poem could be so exciting?

      • James Sale

        Ha! Ha! Ha! Thanks for the poem – not often, if at all, one is written about me! But you are so right: who did indeed know that Father’s Day could be so exciting?

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