Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ADAM AND HIS FATHER, by KAREN SWENSON



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ADAM AND HIS FATHER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Adam's father, always a good provider
Last Line: "perhaps what I have always wanted is to want."
Subject(s): Desire; Fathers & Sons; Thailand; Travel; Journeys; Trips


Adam's father, always a good provider,
has supplied a childhood of unblemished lawns
perfumed by Sunday barbecues,
catsup, and sweet relish -
the only admission of change
the height marks on the kitchen door
and a progression of vehicles - carriage to car.

Adam, at twenty-two, wanders East
where monks robed yellow as October leaves
drift the dawn streets with their begging bowls
and human stinks are quick as rats in the alleys.
Homesick for white bread,
he strums "I Am a Rock" in Bangkok bars,
buys rice from the dark hands of street vendors.

Adam's father sits in the garden,
evening air thick with honeysuckle
under the gentle shuffle of maple leaves,
and reads letters from Bangkok, Rangoon, Dhaka
in which his son writes,
"Seeing hunger, I know I am hungry.
Perhaps what I have always wanted is to want."





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