IN PLACE OF TEARS





A year has passed since the death of my father. A year in which I miss our daily conversations, his constant love and support, his wisdom and humour. On a difficult day when I all I could think of was the trauma of his death I heard his voice telling me to stop crying and write a poem. This poem recalls some of the special times I spent with my Dad. The sadness remains as to keep him entertained in his housebound later years I would email my poems to him. When clearing out his house I found a file with printed copies of everything I had ever sent him, poems, childrens stories, my unfinished memoir, the collection of poems about my mother’s life and death, my childrens rhymes. I wish he could read this one last poem and hope he knows how much he is loved.





IN PLACE OF TEARS


Standing on a chair at the kitchen sink,
rinsing my hair in vinegar to make it shine;
buffeted by wind on a Welsh beach
sculpting a sand car big enough to drive;
digging the lawn to make an Oxbow lake,
practice for the frog filled ponds to come;
watching the magician, wide eyed at parties;
sailing far away, a sheet on your hand sawn
climbing frame our ship, a rocket, a castle;
scrambling on rocks, damning streams,
racing up heather hills chasing crickets;
climbing in the back seat, quiet
as you bring me home after the last bus;
smiling as you tell my children
of the fairies in the garden;
sitting in silence, sun on golden acers,
waiting for the birds to come;
scrolling the programme guide and
choosing another Agatha Christie;
sharing your treats, pork pie and chocolate biscuits;
your pride in your grandchildren
for whom distance never lessened the love,
knowing it was you when the phone rang,
missing still the hours we could talk and
still find things to say;
bringing you a bluebell when it was
too hard to make it to the woods;
touched by your love and patience
after a lifetime with your beloved Lilian;
talking politics, 87 years did not dim
your compassion or rage at injustice;
sharing your strange knowledge of the now
and the other, feeling your healing;
your joy at meeting Dylan,
baby eyes entranced, knowing you;
riding high on your shoulders, plaits swinging,
then, always, you made my world safe;
tingling the bells, they ring still when
the wind blows on my Spanish patio. 



© 2017 Jacqueline Claire Knight.  All rights reserved. 

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