Tanka: Father

baby child father fingers

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

 

*If you would like personal astrology report, please contact me at: leoftanner@gmail.com for details.

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

 

Poem ‘Ways Out’

Ways Out

During those darker days
while Dad dug the earth,
I would stand with him
and dream of the sky,
that it might send an angel
in a shining silver disk
to whisk me away
to some fantastic world,
as far away as possible
from that featureless place

Once my dreams were done
each mournful Sunday night,
that was when I’d watch him
sitting hunched before
his old bespoke radios,
yellow fingers twisting knobs
while turning his ear
to strange sideband sounds,
smirking to Southern drawl charm
engaging cool Transvaal

I knew it was his way out,
released and briefly lost
among the wild waves,
bringing some colour to his world
before I’d hear the clock wind up,
the curtains being drawn

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012