No Regrets

Dad was surrounded all his life
by sisters, mother, daughters and a wife;
I never saw up close the bond
between a father and son.
I often wondered how Dad
would have been if he’d had
a son to kick a ball about,
swing a bat at cricket,
to rough and tumble play-fight.
I tried to fill the empty space,
a tomboy with a grubby face,
running fast and jumping far.
Unable to keep up the pace,
I turned to languages and books,
started to write poetry
and moved to another country.
He wrote me letters,
called me on the telephone,
said he was proud I did it all alone
and when I had a daughter
of my own, he shared my joy in her.
At the end, there were no regrets,
he was the type of man who forgets
the difficult times, the fights
during the teenage years, the nights
waiting for me to come home.
Seven long years he’s been gone;
I miss his cheeky grin and silly jokes,
and on this Father’s Day I’d like to say
he was a special bloke.

Kim M. Russell, 17th June 2018

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My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Weekend Challenge: Approaching Father’s Day Also linked to Poets United Poetry Pantry.

Brendan is our host this weekend and he says that he has been re-reading James Hillman’s 1967 essay “Senex and Puer”, in which he examines the psychological, cultural and mythic split between father and son, old year king and insurgent, baby-cheeked New Year, brooding Saturn and quicksilver Mercury.  I have to admit that I’ve never read this essay.

Brendan gives us a historical background and his own understanding and reactions to Hillman’ essay, and, as today is Father’s Day, asks us to foreground it on this Eve with all the paternal resonance we can summon.

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48 thoughts on “No Regrets

  1. A fine fine Father’s Day card — your Dad surely was “a special bloke.” Adrift in a sea of the feminine, he carried out his paternal work without seeming complaint. Something of the father-son connection — a ghostly echo, I think — survives in your muscular poems. Thanks so for joining in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this picture you ‘painted’ of your father. He seems like the type of man who would enjoy daughter or son equally. I can see that your dad was proud of you, and it is good to be able to live….and die….with no regrets!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Curiously I had a brother and many boy cousins so when married put my order in with my wife for five girls to give some balance to the family tree. She was boss and had one sister but no brothers so produced a boy for her then two girls for me! That seemed fair.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like you had a nice relationship with your dad, I am not sure about the bond. I never had a very good bond with one with my dad, he was mean to Mom and I. Then he straightened up, especially with Mom but never said he was sorry or anything to me. He did continue to box my ears about once a month. Perhaps his dad taught him that, the way he should bring up a boy.
    ..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was a wonder, considering he was a renal patient most of his life, always in and out of hospital, and it put an end to his sporting life. He was a footballer, cricketer, ice hockey player and a brilliant boxer. Kidney cancer put an end to that. But he still loved his sport and went on to be a referee. He knew the rules to every sport. He also loved music, which he passed on to me. I think he read my poetry, but was never really sure. I like to think he did. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Fathers and daughters – well, that’s another epic chapter in itself. Much like any family dynamics. Of course, it’s never “perfect” – there are mean and hard times, and if you’ve managed to have more good and better? then that’s a blessing and gift. But then, perhaps the best and most lasting gift is the one where you both find peace and pleasure in the other, as independent of the “child-parent” bond. And being able to live with acceptance of this, of short-comings and triumphs, is ultimately, at the end, and then, in memory, a gift worthy of celebration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to look back and remember the bad times when I was still angry with my dad for being strict when my sisters came along (he never punished them!) and when I was a teenager. But as I got older and we began to understand each other better, I remembered all the great times we had when I was little and when I became a parent myself. He was a renal patient most of his life and couldn’t fulfill his own dreams. He did his best.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. it’s often the case, time, aging, wisdom learned, hard earned etc. and then, sometimes, forgiveness, through understanding …. of course, it doesn’t always work out that way – it depends on so many other things too – but yes, people, generally, do the best they can, with what they know or understand, at the time …. and if you’ve both found peace and closure, then this is the best gift you could share 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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