Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Father of the Predicaments

He came at night to each of us asleep
And trained us in the virtues we most lacked.
Me he admonished to return his stare
Correctly, without fear.  Unless I could,
Unblinking, more and more incline
Toward a deep unblinkingness of his,
He would not let me rest.  Outside
In the dark of the world, at the foot
Of the library steps, there lurked
A Mercury of rust, its cab half-lit.
(Two worldly forms who huddled there
Knew what they meant.  I had no business

With the things they knew.  Nor did I feel myself
Drawn back through Circulation into Reference,
Until I saw how blue I had become, by virtue
Of its five TVs, their monitors abuzz with is's

Etymologies...)

Credit


From The Father of the Predicaments, forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press in September 1999. Copyright © 1999 by Heather McHugh. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Author


Heather McHugh

A former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Heather McHugh has received several awards for her work as a poet, including the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" in 2009

Date Published: 1999-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/father-predicaments