11. My Dad

Mirage by Geoffrey Holdsworth
1940

A man in an open shirt
sat gazing out to sea;
A young man, a hale man,
and I wished that I were he
and that the things I loved
were as they used to be.

What did he see
as he sat there?
Some woman’s shining hair,
or the rosy sunset clouds
that burned in the air?

A laughing goddess
rising from the foam?
Or a tall barquentine
come home,
her tops’ls tattered
by the North Wind’s comb?

St. Brendan’s Ilse,
on the seas rim,
Unseen by other men
but clear to him
whose eyes were shining-bright
not dim?

I only know that I wished that I were he,
and that things I loved were as they used to be.

 

1980 (88)(1)
1980, Dad reading Kevin and I a story.

I remember my dad reading this poem to me and my brother while we sat on his lap in the warmth of the lamp-lit cabin that was our home.  He would make stories come to life when he told them, using his voice to emulate different characters, and Far Pastures by R.M. Patterson was his favorite book to read to us.

I remember hearing him recite this poem and imagining it was he who was the young man, staring out to sea.  But now that I’m 38 and my father’s approaching his seventies, I imagine both HE and I as the one reciting the poem, the observer of something that reminds us of our own youth, somewhat haunted by nostalgia.

I LOVE MY FATHER.  I get my story-teller and inner-adventurer from him.  We have notoriously butted heads, my old man and I…  but I realize now that is simply because I am so very much like him, just with different quirks…but equally as stubborn and obstinate!  He is a good man, a mistake maker like his daughter, but with a heart of gold…and I AM PROUD THAT HE IS MINE AND I AM HIS.

 

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