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
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.