On the evening of Father's Day I am remembering my own Daddy, Billy Wetherill, who died when I was nine years old when my life changed radically. But he still remains lodged near my heart two generations later. I wrote this poem about him and published it in my collection With Such Caution. You might like it.
4 Billy: A Daughter’s Tale
walked along, your giant’s hand in mine, long fingers poking inside
my hand-knitted sleeve.
the nights she left the house for work?
sat and read the paper as I scaled your knee
birdlike, into that rustling space.
how we cut out pictures
pasted them into the Panjandrum book?
how you read us stories -
voice going up and down
the waves of the sea?
very sorry you don’t know my youngest –
you he’s highly numerate - you
not see him standing tall for Tai Kwan Do
clad and obliquely oriental)
cricket-ready, complete with pads
and faceguard protection.
lifetime since I passed your dying age
thirty seven,. And now I contemplate
very young you were when
abandoned your life and mine,
to my nine-year self - you seemed eternal.
taken two generations
then and now for me
ventilate the retrospective pain
losing you too soon.
father died when I was nine and I see now that our relationship was the
template for my whole life.