Guys, What Do You Think About Making A Man by Nixon Waterman?

I figured I’d try something new. I’m hoping to start a dialogue or at least garner some kind of response. 

“Making A Man” by Nixon Waterman is a poem I discovered not too long ago in a crusty poetry book from Goodwill. Take this opportunity to read and respond to it in the comment section below. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. It could be a word, a sentence, a paragraph or two. Let’s talk!

Making a Man

by Nixon Waterman

Hurry the baby as fast as you can,

Hurry him, worry him, make him a man.

Off with his baby clothes, get him in pants,

Feed him on brain foods and make him advance.

Hustle him, soon as he’s able to walk,

Into a grammar school; cram him with talk.

Fill his poor head full of figures and facts,

Keep on a-jamming them in till it cracks.

Once boys grew up at a rational rate,

Now we develop a man while you wait,

Rush him through college, compel him to grab

Of every known subject a dip or a dab.

Get him in business and after the cash,

All by the time he can grow a mustache.

Let him forget he was ever a boy,

Make gold his god and its jingle his joy.

Keep him a-hustling and clear out of breath,

Until he wins – nervous prostration and death.

What parts standout? How does it speak into mental illness in men? How does it speak into your life? What is your personal response? 

What do you think? Comment below, email me at, or tweet me at @daddingdepressd. 


2 thoughts on “Guys, What Do You Think About Making A Man by Nixon Waterman?

    1. Interesting. I definitely get the irony and agree, but I don’t get the impression that he is hurt and bitter (though I can see how you’d extract that). For me, the poem acts as a reminder to savor a boy’s childhood, and to be careful not to forget the boy while making a man. Our differing responses are likely due to what we bring to the poem as if we are melding all of our personal experiences with a small piece of Waterman’s. Ultimately, I think the beauty of poetry is that it is subjective. We cannot know Waterman’s intention by merely reading the poem, so it is good to simply have a conversation and to reflect on the reflection of others. Everybody is right, in a way, because nobody is wrong. That said, thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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