Friday 20 April 2012

WIP : A Daughter's Tale

 My father Billy died when I was nine years old and, it seems to me now, has permeated my life ever since, as my memoir The Romancer (see right) probably demonstrated. I miss him even now.

This is a poem about him which I have worked on for some time now


                           Billy: A Daughter’s Tale

We walked along, your  giant’s hand in mine,  
long fingers up inside my woollen sleeve -
I remember nights she left the house
when you read the paper and I scaled your knee
settling, birdlike
into that rustling space.

I remember how we cut out pictures
for the Panjandrum book. And you read us stories -
your voice going up and down

What would you think of our young one?
Tall in Tai Kwan Do gear
white clad and obliquely oriental -
Or ready for cricket
complete with pads and faceguard,
grave and somewhat pedantic – a family trait

When I passed the age of thirty seven
- a lifetime since -
it dawned on me how young you were -  
yet at that dying time
you seemed to me so very old -
it did not feel too terrible.



  1. I love the picture of you climbing up into his lap with the newspaper - intrigued by the Panjandrum book - what is it?
    This is a lovely, poignant poem.

  2. Thank you for your valued comment Kathleen. The Panjandrum book was a book he made for us by sticking children's comic strips from the News Chronicle onto brown paper pages and sewing them into a book complete with cardboard covers. The Panjandrum was an African character who, I fear, would not pass muster in these quite properly anti-racist days. wx

  3. A truly beautiful poem Wendy. Like Kathleen I love the scaling of the knee and 'settling, birdlike
    into that rustling space.'It is moving and poignant and says so much about the child's view and her inheritance.

  4. Thanks very much Avril. It seems we only work through what went on then when was stop working things out at all, whether it's in poetry or fiction.wx

  5. What a lovely poem, Wendy. When you lose your Dad it is such a traumatic event and the hurt gets no easier as the years roll by. Writing about him helps to come to terms with the pain and lovely memories surface.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...