University of Vermont

Grace Paley Poems


Honorary degree recipient Grace Paley read from her work
the following two poems at the 200th Commencement ceremony, May 23, 2004.

FATHERS

Fathers are
more fathering
these days they have
accomplished this by
being more mothering

what luck for them that
women’s lib happened then
the dream of new fathering
began to shine in the eyes
of free women and was irresistible

on the New York subways
and the mass transits
of other cities one may
see fathering of many colors
with their round babies on
their laps this may also
happen in the countryside

these scenes were brand-new
exciting for an old woman who
had watched the old fathers
gathering once again in
familiar Army camps and com-
fortable war rooms to consider
the necessary eradication of
the new fathering fathers
(who are their sons) as well
as the women and children who
will surely be in the way.

~Grace Paley

WANT

night high wine of a mosquito
wild for my blood I fight back
flailing smash its little life
then sleep I want God to want ALL
creatures to be fed and ALL to live

how?

~Grace Paley

Last modified August 12 2004 11:48 AM

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