'In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall'

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Editor's note: A sampler of poems celebrating African- American fathers.

'in daddy's arms'

in daddy's arms i am tall

& close to the sun & warm

in daddy's arms

in daddy's arms

i can see over the fence out back

i can touch the bottom leaves of the big magnolia tree

in cousin Sulkie's yard

in daddy's arms

in my daddy's arms the moon is close

closer at night time when I can almost touch it

when it grins back at me from the wide twinkling skies

in daddy's arms i am tall

taller than Benny & my friends Ade & George

taller than Uncle Billy

& best of all

i am eye-ball-even-steven with my big brother Jamal

in my daddy's arms

i am strong & dark like him & laughing

happier than the circus clowns

with red painted grins

when daddy spins me round & round

& when the whole world is crazy upside down

i am big and strong & proud like him

in daddy's arms

my daddy

-- Folami Abiade

'Tickle Tickle'

me papa tickle me feet

he call it "finger treat"

me scream and run each time he come

me papa tickle me feet

he tickle me tummy, me chest, me arm

his fingers fly so wild

he say, "Come here, little man.

You my ticklin' chile."

me papa say he love me

me papa look so proud

he say, "Sonny, what a joy

to see you laugh out loud."

he tickle me ribs, me neck, me back

his fingers grow longer each day

me twist and swing and laugh and kick

but he hold me anyway

me eyes, they water

me throat be sore

me weak, me dizzy

but me want more

he throw me high up in the air

and catch me from behind

me say, "Go higher!" and he say,

"Don't you know you're mine?"

me papa tickle me feet

he call it "finger treat"

me scream and run (but OH, WHAT FUN!)

when papa tickle me feet

-- Dakari Hru

'My Granddaddy Is My Daddy Too'

Nobody has a granddaddy

Like my granddaddy.

Nobody's granddaddy

Is named Douglas Jasper Blue.

Nobody's grandfather

Has smoked a pipe for fifty years

And always has tobacco to chew.

Nobody else's big daddy

Can carve whistles out of wood.

Nobody else's grandfather

Has feet almost two feet long.

Only my grandpa

Can catch fifteen fish in a day.

And he makes up his very own silly songs.

Nobody has a granddaddy

Like my granddaddy.

I'm so lucky

That he's my one and only Daddy.

-- Dinah Johnson

'Promises'

Dear Daddy,

I'm sorry I did not do what you told me to do.

If I do better

Can I still be your little boy?

Dear Son,

You will be

My little boy

For all of your little-boy days.

And when

You are no longer a little boy

I will still be your daddy.

-- David A. Anderson

Excerpted from the book IN DADDY'S ARMS I AM TALL African Americans Celebrating Fathers. Text copyright (c) 1997 by individual poets. Illustrations copyright (c) 1997 by Javaka Steptoe. Reprinted by arrangement with Lee & Low Books Inc.

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