Remembering my dad

Dad taught me to twist with a towel,
skip like a boxer with his leather rope,
and give my shoes a sapper’s* shine.

Dad and I rode together on the 118 bus,
watched Dr No and Goldfinger at Streatham Odeon,
and danced to ‘Reach Out’ by the Four Tops.

His voice was boxing on the radio,
football results on a Saturday afternoon,
and the echo of Mitcham swimming baths.

He was cricket on a sunny hill day*,
Harry and Pat* sauce on egg and chips
and Murray Mints, too good to hurry mints.

He was lots of things to many people:
son, husband, brother, friend,
and most of all he was our dad.

Kim M. Russell, 6th August 2015


Linked to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night

My dad died on 6th August 2011. I wrote this poem and read it at his funeral.

  • My dad was a sapper in the Royal Engineers. A sapper is a soldier who performs a variety of military engineering duties such as breaching fortifications, demolitions, bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, preparing field defenses, as well as working on road and airfield construction and repair. He also boxed successfully for the army, before he was discharged due to a serious leg injury. I had the weekly task of polishing his various sports trophies, as well as our shoes.
  • Sunny Hill Road was the location of the cricket club he played for. We would all attend Sunday matches. I remember playing at the back of the pavilion, helping the scorer in the scorer’s hut, and tepid Coca Cola from a glass bottle.
  • HP sauce, a brown condiment my father always referred to as Harry and Pat.

37 thoughts on “Remembering my dad

  1. What a wonderful tribute to your father, read by you at his funeral. It gives life to the man he was and also a sense of warmth and love. I most especially love the 4th stanza…..I love the sound of it as I say it aloud (as the people attending his funeral must have heard it said aloud) – it just seems to smile for him.
    Thank you for sharing this, Kim. You love for him and admiration too, shine through

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so beautifully written, Kim. I can see the love radiate from each word and memory recalled in this piece. It’s so heartfelt with every detail and memory shared. This is a beautiful tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a loving tribute to your dad and all of the memories of him that emanate from the words. It is all and more than anyone would want to be remembered for. I’m sure he would smile if he read this ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely tribute, Kim. My Dad has been gone 30 years now and I still miss him. He was my cheerleader, my loving support, my rock….everything a Dad should be, just as was yours judging by this tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely poem Kim, filled with love. I wrote and read out my Dad’s eulogy too, back in 2005, he died 8th August. several years later, I erread and realised it was a poem. I had, at the time, lost track of poetry.

    I do hope that you are feeling well today xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a touching poem.Thank you KIM 😉
    What helped me in loss and sorrow, was the thought that all that emotion is actually love in different form. I am just as sad as I love. But through this tribute, I think you already have that connection sorted in your own way.

    Liked by 1 person

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