My Old Man

“Get a job,” he used to say

when I was up till midnight,

red-eyed, nervous, burnt out,

cramming for first year finals.

And when I got a summer job,

plumber’s helper at C & E,

“You need a better job,” he said,

“something with a decent future.”


But my future meant a degree.

“Anything past high school,”

he used to say, “is just an excuse

to keep sitting on your ass.

You’re not getting money out of me.

Take some responsibility for once,

get out and support yourself.”


At long last, my commerce degree,

and a position, accountant in a growing firm.

“A desk job,” he says, “that’s unbelievable.

You’re still just sitting on your ass.

You’ll be fat before you’re forty,

then it’s varicose veins and heart attacks.”


Every week he calls me up, the voice

of experience with more sound advice.

“You should pick up a second job,

fix it so your wife can afford

to stay home where she belongs.

That’s what every woman wants.”

Yeah, my old man, who always calls collect. 

Robert Currie served two terms as the Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan and in 2009 received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for lifetime achievement in the arts. His seventh book of poetry, The Days Run Away, appeared in 2015 from Coteau Books.