Tanka: Father

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Though I’ve doubted you
you have been patient with me
I sense the small voice
the calm disguising your care
We are steps along the way

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: Anonymous Lines

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Painting by Leofwine Tanner

Downstairs any morning;
sunlight and smoke
in slow swirling clouds.
The cat wanders in,
cries and wanders out,
flopping down the step
toward shrill sparrow sounds.

An open passage door
through which I follow
into a past, or no time at all.
Gooseberries hairy in the mouth,
that sour shock at the crunch.
Raspberries sweet on the tongue;
peas plucked from the pod,

sitting between rows of green.
His shadow blots out the sun,
a tall silhouette, cap pushed back
as a match is struck.
I follow to runner beans
and strawberry rows,
where the cat rolls over and over.

He is distant now, never hurried,
where it all opens up,
when I cling to his leg
looking down on the dyke
where the moorhen struts.
Out onto prairie fields,
anonymous lines of roads

and pylons. A relentless horizon.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019 and 2011

 

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Do We Ever Know Our Parents?

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My father has been dead a long time now, but I’ve never stopped missing him.

I was brought up in an agricultural community of intensive farming, but with just enough ‘real nature’ around us to appreciate the clean air (usually), the silence, the freedom. I virtually grew up on a bike and cars were relatively rare down our road.

Through all that time my father seemed to be in the background, always there, but quiet, shy. He’d had various jobs before retirement, a butcher, farm labourer mainly, but he was an intelligent man of few words.

And I feel I never really knew or understood him.

I wish I’d asked more questions, about his early life, his family. But we never know or ask enough, do we? We take it for granted that our family are there. For us.

Then one day, one of them is not. It’s too late. Yes, of course, I’m stating the obvious, but most often we ignore the obvious all around us, don’t we?

My abiding memory is of my father on his piece land at the back of our house, digging, simply digging the rich soil, surrounded by the vast fertile fields and eyed by hungry, inquisitive birds.

Thanks Dad.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019