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.