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2023- A Father's Heart Poetry Contest Winning Poems

A Poem for Charles by JV Sadler


Your daughter wept the day you died

I saw her on grandma’s knees

Her shoulders bouncing—

a sing-a-long dot across the screen—

To the rhythm of grief

and pain



Your wife cried your name

A Black Woman on the microphone

She sung hymns at your funeral

Let the holy ghost dance

inside her body, limp and loose

She spoke in tongues 



I heard from my aunts and uncles that

you were a great dad, that

you were the man of the block, that

you took in street kids and taught them

how to count their money, how to

change oil under a car hood 



The day you called me my mother’s name

was the day I discovered

I’ve got my mother’s eyes—her

widow’s peak—

A big negroid nose—

Sandy hair from my daddy 



When you couldn’t tell your home

from the grocery store, 

those nights you’d wander like a stranger

in a catacomb, already meeting the eyes 

of skeletons. Reach your hands out 

and death would meet you halfway


Yea, you met your Lord

whom you have so wished 

and worshiped and

shouted and 

raised your hands towards His heaven 

from your home on Earth


Yea, you met your Lord

And I hope He is as wonderful

as you always said He was

I hope one day I can

forgive Him for

taking you


Who was 

A father

Who was

My grandfather 

I commend your life,


Daddy's Morning Snuggle by Joy Overturf

Two piece pajamas and the drifting sent of aqua velva
A few more minutes I cuddle in my bunk bed
The tapping of the razor on the sink.
Johnny Mathis.
The platters vocals bellow to my ears.
Until the water slows to a trickle then off.

I know my Daddy is coming any second.
I pretend to be asleep.
Do dooo do  do do do do do dooo do.

In the tune of the bugal song  song.
My father wakes us up before school.
I love you Daddy.

A Tribute to Daddy's Music by Rolanda T. Pyle

(Winner of the 2023 Poetry Is Life book Award)

Ella jumps
Sarah’s sassy
Billie thumps
Carmen’s brassy
Gloria croons
Aretha’s queen
Gladys booms
Diana’s supreme!

Nat’s king
Jimmy plays
Marvin sings
John sways
Miles blows
Nancy’s mellow
Ray crows
Patti bellows!

Jazz strokes
Gospel provokes
Calypso whines
Reggae shines
Blues soothes
R&B smooths
Rap grooves
Music makes me want to move!

Learned to listen at Daddy’s feet
Where he would listen to different beats
Learned to appreciate with Daddy’s ear
All kinds of music I would hear.
Learned that music was in his heart
That’s how my love for music got its start.

A tribute to the music my father listened to, especially JAZZ! Also a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Carmen McCrae, Gloria Lynne, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, Nat King Cole, Jimmy Smith, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, Ray Charles and Patti LaBelle, who I listened to as I grew up.

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