A poem inspired by Judith Viorst

I read this poem by: Judith Viorst from Sad underwear and other complications (1995)

What Dads Do

Make bookshelves.
Make burgers.
Make money.
Make funny faces that make you laugh.
Scratch your back when you can’t reach where it itches.
Lift you up on their shoulders.
Snore when they’re sleeping (but say they don’t).
Pitch but not so fast that you can’t hit their pitches.
Play tickles with you when you feel like a silly person.
Snuggle up close with you when you feel like a sad one.

Dads explain electricity
And peninsulas
And help you count the stars.

I wish I still had one.


I decided to change it to a list about what moms do and end it with the line:
I’m glad I still have one

My poem:

What Moms Do

Bake pies
Crochet afghans
And play a mean hand of pinochle

Mine drove me early, very early to swim practice
daily, before school.
Mine bought me new dresses,
especially for the first day of school.
Mine stood for hours in white clothes
timing at the summer Saturday swim meet.
Mine now makes great company
on all our road trips.

And now, most of her time is spent helping others.
keeping lonely friends company.
driving sick friends to the doctor.
offering condolences at funeral wakes.
And always having time to visit and help out in my classroom.

Moms – I’m glad I still got one.

Tomorrow, I’ll be reading this aloud during my 3rd grade classroom’s Poetry Celebration!
And my mom is coming to hear it!

11 thoughts on “A poem inspired by Judith Viorst

  1. Jen Driggers says:

    Thanks for sharing this poem and then your version. How awesome that your mom is coming to your celebration to hear your poem. This is the first time I’m seeing this Judith Viorst poem. I, too, wish I still had a Dad. These poems might inspire me to write my own about my dad and my mom too! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂


  2. marilynyung says:

    Love your poems and this idea for my classes. Thank you so much! I would have a hard time reading with a parent right there— there would be tears. Have a great day tomorrow! Your mom will love your poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jarhartz says:

    Love the tribute to your mom. And the fact that she will be there at your school celebration. Hours timing at swim meets, early morning practices…so funny, that’s one thing I loved doing. Bet your mom did too!


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