Words for Worry by Li-Young Lee

Another word for father is worry.

Worry boils the water
for tea in the middle of the night.

Worry trimmed the child’s nails before
singing him to sleep.

Another word for son is delight,
another word, hidden.

And another is One-Who-Goes-Away.
Yet another, One-Who-Returns.

So many words for son:
He-Dreams-for-All-Our-Sakes.
His-Play-Vouchsafes-Our-Winter-Share.
His-Dispersal-Wins-the-Birds.

But only one word for father.
And sometimes a man is both.
Which is to say sometimes a man
manifests mysteries beyond
his own understanding.

~ from Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, selected and introduced by Billy Collins

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4 Responses to Words for Worry by Li-Young Lee

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    That is beautiful, but I would have to raise my hand and protest. In our house, the name for mother is worry, not father. I don’t think my husband worries about anything.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – we’re pretty much equal opportunity worriers here at our house – but I’m pretty sure the poet is male, thus the “father.” :)

  2. Kathleen says:

    I think I must be a father too based on this description. I think my first name is Worry!