Monday, June 11, 2007

My Father

My Father

Fathers were good to my pals
lectured them about cash
then bought them flats,
deplored their morals

but flitted them from place to place
at dead of night.
Oh my Dad’ll go spare
they’d cheerfully admit

as they phoned for loans.
At such times
I would remember my own
and his two pieces of advice:

how to remove your bayonet
from an enemy’s ribcage,
and how to disarm a maniac
coming at you from the stairs.

They thought their fathers weird
for having cardigans,
I thought mine odd
because he’d talk to men

who’d burned alive in 1942
and because of other things
I’d watched him do:
vault walls three times his size,

or sprint along a busy street
to punch my Mum. When he went,
it left a hole as a trepan might.
I have no idea where he ended up

though I knew he would live long,
as mad folk do.
Years down the line
I received a sentence or two,

written in his cramped
and delicate monkish way,
I wonder, it began,
if you remember me…

This poem and many other damned good ones are available from my new collection 'Strange Bamboo' (Shoestring Press). If you wish a copy and can't find one in the shops yet please contact me.

1 comment:

mettler said...

Damned good nearly every one.