The time comes when you are facing him

The time comes when you are facing him Poem By David Ignatow

The time comes when you are facing him
as by accident, as by sheer inadvertency.
You had been running from each other
in opposite directions, avoiding what
had to be done and now have run
the roundness of the globe to come
smack up against each other
from opposite directions.
There is no escape from growing up
and becoming a man, taking your father’s
life—his fortune, his will, his pride
and place—and setting him on one side
off the road he is blocking. He stays
where you have placed him, filled
with shame for himself and hatred
and a desire to die at once or to kill.
He dies slowly. You helped him to it,
and it will be so written and read
and remembered, with horror in it
because it is the one way that sends
a man to become religious and heartbroken,
and fearful, filled with the mystery,
of himself.
He turns to his own children
for justification, their need for bread,
clothes and shelter, and his pride
as a man capable of acting. The rest,
while waiting to act, is prayer,
and it is like the moment before going
into battle.

The time comes when you are facing him

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