Father and Son

June 14, 2017

Photo courtesy swimswim

Introduction by Ted Kooser: Here's a touching father-son poem by Jennifer Gray, who lives in Nebraska. If you're not big enough to push a real mower, well, you make a mower of your own.

Summer Mowing

He has transformed
his Tonka dump truck
into a push mower, using

lumber scraps and duct tape
to construct a handle
on the front end of the dump box.

One brave screw
holds the makeshift
contraption together.

All summer they outline
the edges of these acres,
first Daddy, and then,

behind him
this small echo, each
dodging the same stumps,

pausing to slap a mosquito,
or rest in the shade,
before once again pacing

out into the light,
where first one,
and then the other,

leans forward to guide the mowers
along the bright edges
of this familiar world.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2015 by Jennifer Gray, “Summer Mowing,” from Plainsongs, (Vol. XXXV, no. 3, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Jennifer Gray and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Happy Father’s Day to my husband, my dad, my father-in-law, and all the other dads out there!

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  1. I loved this poem when I read it the first time. It reminds me of my son and grandson. Thanks for letting me read it again.

  2. Cheryl--Awww, how sweet. Another generation into the mix. I'm glad you don't mind re-reading some of these poems. As far as I know, you're the only one of my regular readers who subscribes to the same poetry newsletter!

  3. Rita--It's a sweet poem, and something I think most parents can identify with.

  4. Such a great poem Kathy...quite appropriate for the coming Father's Day. Hope you are staying cool and enjoying your day. Hugs!