Sunday, 19 June 2022

Father's Day Memories

 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
We walked along, your giant’s hand in mine,  long fingers poking inside my hand-knitted sleeve.
Remember the nights she left the house for work?
You sat and read the paper as I scaled your knee
settling, birdlike, into that rustling space.
Remember how we cut out pictures
and pasted them into the Panjandrum book?
Remember how you read us stories -
your voice going up and down
like the waves of the sea?
So very sorry you don’t know my youngest –
like you he’s  highly numerate - you
did not see him standing tall for Tai Kwan Do 
(white clad and obliquely oriental)
or cricket-ready, complete with pads
and helmet and faceguard protection.
It’s a lifetime since I passed your dying age
of thirty seven,. And now I contemplate
how very young you were  when
you abandoned your life and mine,
when - to my nine-year self - you seemed eternal.
It has taken two generations
between then and now  for me
to ventilate  the retrospective pain
of losing you too soon.

My father died when I was nine and I see now that our relationship was the template for my whole life.


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