To My Father, My Sons, and My Brothers … Everywhere

Men we are, all of us, yet not knowing what it means

to be a man or

to be with each other as

man with man.


Oh, we learned much about

man- on- man and

man- for- man and

man- to- man but

never man with man.


I am sorry, very sorry.

For I never learned and

never taught and

never experienced

true Brotherhood or

true Fatherhood or

true Sonhood…

because I didn’t know how…

because none of us knew how.


We learned to challenge and

to conquer and

to wound and

to kill one another.

We learned to

act like a man and to

take it like a man, but

we never learned

to be a man.

We never learned to be a man and

to be human at the same time.

To be a real man meant to be


to not feel,

to not need,

to not care.

I am sorry,

very sorry.


We sought woman

to teach us

to be human.

We sought woman

to show us how

to feel,

to need,

to care…

because we didn’t know how.


We hated ourselves

for having needs and

for being vulnerable and

for feeling pain.

We hated ourselves for being human.


No more. No more.

Enough is enough.

I am a man…

and I need you…

my Brother,

my Father,

my Son…

to be with me.

I need you…

and I need myself…desperately.


Let us be

man- with- man

becoming human…together.



(Note: I wrote this poem after a men’s retreat led by the poet Robert Bly in 1990)