When at university about 1970 I asked why conflict pervades our lives. After years I found the answer is simply the question of meaning I call "the last why" since it will never be answered. Still, we try and have tried to "fill the void" behind "Why am I?" in ways that conflict, since it was first asked by 'Eve'. Thus we've created our open-ended history of conflict we will soon close if we don't instead choose the "ideal reaction to the void".

In 2005 I decided to see if I was a fool for asking by seeking reaction to my analysis the only way an anonymous carpenter could, on this website. I first tried to attract visits with prose posts but changed to
poetry for reason in rhyme is memorable. I've had to advertise so I could be twice the fool but I remain undecided. Thanks for sharing. Doug.E.Barr  






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I'm sorry, more I didn't care.
I had the chance while you were here.
It's just that I was unaware.
I never saw you shed a tear.

I didn't know you had been hurt.
You always seemed all right to me.
But when you said, "I feel like dirt."
I sensed a pain I couldn't see.

Too late I learned you felt no good.
I cursed the ones who told you so.
They stopped you being what you could
And thus gave you nowhere to go.

That left a hole for you inside,
A wound for life to feel alone
Because someone could not abide
A sin for which you should atone.

Despite your wound you handled well
All obligations that you bore.
You cared for me, that I could tell.
I now know why there wasn't more.

Had you told me what I know now
I could have tried to make amends.
To you I would have made a bow.
We would have been much more than friends.

I washed you, dressed you, helped you shave.
When we went out I helped you walk.
I set you in the tub to bathe.
But through it all we didn't talk.

I'm sad you thought I seemed so cold,
That I told you by being gruff
Your effort even to grow old
I felt was never good enough.

If I could do it all again
I'd hug you at least twice a day.
I would try more to ease your pain.
"I love you", is the least I'd say.

When I recall your final night
We're holding hands, for that I am glad;
And many times to aid your 'flight'
I said, "You did a great job Dad."

Reader Comments (22)

Doug...This is a very powerful and moving piece of writing. I cried, because it reminded me of that invisible wall I often sensed around Dad. I so longed to really know Dad, but never seemed to be able to get past the "wall". Dad really was an amazing person..L am so thankful that he was so committed to us and Mom..
Thanks for sharing your revelation in such a thought provoking way.

Love, Sharon
October 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSharon you can see, I'm still having my "computer challenges". Nevertheless, I will post my foremost thought. I am so thankful that you invested your life in Dad for the time you did. Thankyou for loving him the way you did...Love Sharon

I made your posts look the way there were intended. Second beautiful thoughts are always welcome. Love Doug

October 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSharon
Doug - Just beautiful! Of course, I can relate to it, having Dad with me. That poem makes me even more determined to make sure that, as much as I can, I have said it all and done it all for Dad. It seems that men of your dad's and my dad's generation, were not comfortable with showing their feelings the way it is most acceptable and necessary for men to do these days. How sad! I'm sure, however, that they knew and felt how much we cared for them. Actions can say so much, as well.

Beautiful and Sensitive!! Wonderful!

October 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Plitz
Hi Doug....this poem made me very sad but also very determined to show Mom how much I care about her. There is still time left to let her know how special she is! I always end our evening conversation with "I love you Mom". I just wish that I had talked more with my dad when I had the chance.

I remember your dad so very well but I never got to "know him". How very lucky we have been to have had such good and caring parents.
Cousin Sue
October 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCousin Sue
I really like this poem uncle doug. My mom read it to me and now I am reading it again to spend more time taking it in.It was beautiful. I'm sure he knows you love him...when someone sticks by you and takes care of you-lets just say that actions speak louder than words in many situations.
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterElia

im sorry you didnt value what you had until it was gone .i still have my dad and once again it reminded me to adore him


Yessenia, it is not that I didn't value my father. I thanked him many times over the years for the support he had given me. I just didn't know that he needed my support during the last 3 years of his life. I cared for him but he didn't talk and I was too inexperienced to understand his body language. So listen carefully to the 'words' a body says. Doug.E.Barr

March 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfrom yessenia

I still want to help u and love u.But u have meet.luv.take care.

March 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternick

Wish to meet u help u seriouI was scared but now not.

March 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternick

Donot regratu are cute.loving.speak the truth everything will be fiotherwise it will be too late.

March 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternick

just so powerful, you've made me cry. I'm sorry you didn't value your dad as much as you should have, my dad is still alive but he might as well be dead. The distance between us is too great a chasm for either of us to cross. But your words have touched me maybe I'll give us another try.


Again, I am sorry too. My Dad would tell me it felt good when I washed his back while he was sitting in the tub. I now regret stopping after a few minutes. I could have shown him he had more value by washing his back until he said it was enough. He liked to shower but I had to steady him so I quit when I got tired. I tired too quickly. I should have shown him he was worthy of me holding him up until he was tired like he did for me when I was learning how to skate. It would have cost me nothing to show Dad at the end of his life that his was priceless. Let me know if you reconnect with your Dad. I think it will be worth the effort. Doug.E.Barr

March 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

i like that this poem was posted for people to see. i think its hard sometimes when you have a feeling of regret and i know from personal expierence that it becomes easier when u can get those feelings of your chest.


Thanks again for writing. Perhaps by sharing our regrets we will have fewer regrets to share. Doug.E.Barr

Doug I'm not very good at this computer stuff and have know idea how I got here from there...But I loved your poem . No regrets your dad loved it too..I belive


Serendipity! I love it! Doug.E.Barr

December 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

beautiful. this is my favorite poem yet. i am supposed to be researching poems for the poetryoutloud contest but i must admt i'm kind of a poetry freak and i absolutely had to read all these poems. love you. yuor poems are so deep, no matter if i agree with all of your views, these poems are still beast... great job Doug... keep 'em coming



With support such as this I just might be able to "keep 'em coming". Doug.E.Barr

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjbm

To-day I was remembering our Dad's birthday...even though he is with us no longer....and giving thanks for his life and legacy and looking forward to the day I will see him again. I re-read your poem and once again was brought to tears. I just so enjoyed the picture of Dad in his healthier days. Thanks again for the reminder to listen to the "words" a body says.

Love, Sharon


Thanks for remembering Dad by reading my poem and sharing your memory with me. Love to you too.

February 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

My father was first generation immigrant, so to speak, and I was ashamed of him; he used lousy grammar and wore funny clothes. It wasn't till years after he died,when I put together an album about him for my sons, that I realized how much he loved me and that he never abandoned me. My mom died when I was six, he farmed me out to my grandmother, and I FELT abandoned. it would been good time for him to leave, as many men did. But -- He provided for me and sent me to college. Which did me little good. I hit the "glass ceiling"when I tried to get an MA. Needless to say your poem resounded with me and I regret never appreciating him, and hope if we meet in heaven he will forgive this ungrateful girl. Louise


Thank you for telling me your story. It still must be difficult for you. I do not recall thinking about my parents at all when I was growing up. I was in my late 20s and early 30s before I began to notice them and appreciate the effort they put into my life. Although Dad lived with me for the last three years of his life I didn't do enough to prevent any possibility he might think I had abandoned him. I am not allowing those thoughts to enter my mother's mind. I hope your sons learn to appreciate you. Doug.E.Barr

May 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLouise Green

Doug, This is a very beautiful piece of literature and something everyone should have the opportunity to read. You are very fortunate to have recognized your regrets and are able to express them in thoughts and words, not to mention share them with others. Your Epiphanies are your own consolation. How wonderful for you.... Let it flow. Thanks for sharing.
Linda Vick


It is hearing my "Regrets, Dad" might help make the last years of someone else's parent less difficult that consoles me somewhat. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Doug.E.Barr

June 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Vick

i like dis its kool


So are you. Doug.E.Barr

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterme

Thank you Doug for reminding me to say the words too often left unsaid.I had the father that never kissed me or gave me a hug or said I love you.When he died I was devastated because now there would never be a chance for that to happen.Seventeen years later I now know he loved me and he showed it by his caring for his wife and nine children.It was a million little things he did that showed his love for all of us.Most of all his endless working to provide for us all.I have been living with and caring for my precious mother for 15 years.As time has gone on her care has gotten a lot more demanding and trying for me.Thank you for reminding me that she held me up when I needed it many times.I will slow down and remember to let her know her worth and my graditude that I am blessed to still have her in my life at 93 years old.


Until this past July 27 when "my precious mother" died you and I had at least one thing in common. For 10 years she was my inspiration. I wondered how it could be replaced. I now have an idea. Thank you for telling me your story. Doug.E.Barr

October 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy



You have returned to me the comfort you received from me. Thank you! We can carry on. Doug.E.Barr

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMARAGERT FROM SCOTLAND

That is absolutely some of the most beautiful poetry I've read. Made me tear up and I have a father who is going through a battle right now and makes me want to spend much more time w/him not knowing how much time is left. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poetry. You are very talented.


Thank you for telling me your story and for your kind words. I am inclined to think your father will appreciate the comfort you give him by being close. Doug.E.Barr

January 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter(D.E.B) sadly anonymous

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