Dad, OBE – dVerse Meeting the Bar

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That moment when we knew you were leaving us

When we knew the inevitable was truly inevitable

When we could no longer pretend to ourselves – to each other

that this moment would never come.

That’s when my heart pounded the strongest within

and the irony that yours was fading

whilst mine was ready to deafen us with its incessant pulsating

I wondered – madly – if there was only so much heart-beating allowed in this room.

Had I stolen your vitality

drained your life-force with my very presence?

I can imagine the roll of your eyes at such a flight of fancy –

you’d have given me short shrift, I know.

Vital you were, larger than life –

emotional, driven, strong, creative, brilliant

a bon-viveur

a criticiser of the establishment, yet part of the establishment yourself

a rebel with many causes

a man with fingers in pies

an instigator

a lover – women were your joy and your downfall –

a lion

a man in so many ways.

 

You’re gone, but still here,

in our memories, in our hearts, in our thoughts.

 

Ciao ciao, Dad.

 

Thank you for all that you were and still are.

 

I love you.


 

Tonight, Gayle is barkeep at dVerse, and is encouraging us to write an elegy, where sorrow, admiration and acceptance are to form clear parts of our writing.

Oh, I hummed and hah’d about this one. Not because it’s not a good form to write, but more because much of my writing of late has been a bit focused towards love and loss. But then I had a word with myself and decided to sup deep on the fabulous wine list the dVerse Poets’ Pub offers. I’m glad I did, because it gave me the chance to write about some (by no means all) of my dad’s good qualities that I so admire(d).

In case you are wondering about the title, my dad was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) a few years ago, and it was a joke between us that if I sent him a letter or a card, it would be addressed to ‘Dad, OBE’. I was lucky enough to be at the investiture at Windsor Castle – a beautiful day.

Do give this form a try, or if you’re not feeling it, just hop on over and enjoy the many, varied and brilliant offerings of the other poets who like to rest awhile in good company.

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Parallel

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Angelo had been visiting his lover in Long Island for seventeen years. Regular as clockwork, reliable as always, he would take a week’s holiday in March, June, September and December and make the long trip to spend some quality time with Dennis, a British ex-pat who loved all and everything about the good old US of A. Secretly, Angelo would have loved to escape from the clutches of an America that had become an alien concept to him over the years. If he could have achieved his dream, emigrating to the Highlands of Scotland and Dennis’s native home, he would have been one hundred percent happy.

Oh to be young again, to have the conviction that Dennis would be content with him no matter what, that he would move mountains for him. But Dennis had become old and set in his ways, refusing even to leave the small coastal town where he had set up home, paying a fortune for Angelo’s first class flights from San Francisco, just so that he could stay put. Sometimes, just sometimes, it would have been wonderful to open the front door of his second floor walk-up and see his favourite man in the world standing there with his battered Louis Vuitton luggage, with his arms outstretched waiting for a welcoming hug. But it had never happened yet, and never would.

Dennis felt the age-gap between him and his darling Angelo more keenly than he would care to admit, even to himself. Thirteen years was almost indecent, he believed, and even though a smattering of grey had begun to appear at his young lover’s formally jet black temples, he still ruefully believed himself to look like Angelo’s father, rather than his lover. He had no idea what Angelo saw in him. His young paramour was successful in his own right, was independent, didn’t need him, he was sure. There was no way he was going to confess to a fear of heights that had crippled him since childhood, since he had seen his father fall to his early death whilst clearing out the guttering after a particularly violent autumn storm. Angelo’s walk-up with its vast windows and balconies made him feel queasy even just looking at the photos, and after all, there was no way he would even step foot on a plane. Angelo, he just knew, would laugh at him and find a younger, more confident man to love if he ever found out.

Dennis sighed, his finger hovering over the screen of his iPad. Angelo was due to visit soon, he needed to make a decision. The image told him all that he needed to know. It would be perfect for the dressing room, just the right size, the perfect style to match the Shaker-built house that was his pride and enjoy. And besides, it would block out the view across the valley from his side of the bed. He could pretend he was on the ground floor, and that he was safe. He hit the ‘Enter’ button and watched as the transaction completed.

One day, maybe one day, he would explain. But not yet. Definitely not yet. He wanted Angelo to be one hundred percent happy with him for just a little bit longer.

One Wild Song – Līgo Haībun Challenge

The Līgo Haibun Challenge is hosted by Ye Pirate and Ese.

This week we are invited to be innovative. Instead of completing our prose with a haiku, we can choose an alternative style of oh-so-brief poetry. I have selected the Cambodian pathya vat style – four lines of poetry where the second and third lines must rhyme.

This week is also prompt week, and i have chosen the Mexican proverb ‘It is not enough to know how to ride – you must also know how to fall’ as my inspiration.

Please do go and check out the other entries by visiting the co-hosts’ blogs and finding the InLinkz linky thing! There are some very talented writers out there…

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– One Wild Song –

The weather yesterday was what I told myself to be the winter version of the day of my dad’s funeral – blue skies, here and there the odd wisp of teased, cotton wool clouds, everywhere crisp and bright.

It was a fitting day for us all to gather for his memorial service. A man who loved colour in his clothing as well as in his art, he would have delighted in such a day to celebrate his life, his achievements, his work.

Throughout the service – a mixture of classical music, hymns, choral works, poetry and other readings – I kept on thinking that I wouldn’t have been surprised if the man himself had arrived, charging down the aisle in a puff of cigar smoke, rainbow-hued tie flailing. It was all so ‘him’. The stunning surroundings, the atmosphere, the sheer grandeur of it all, yet wrapped in an intimacy so tangible it could almost be touched and held close.

So many amazing sentiments were expressed. They were touching, even humorous at times, topped off by a huge round of applause fit to lift St Paul’s Cathedral from its foundations and expose the OBE Chapel to the world outside.

It could have been no better.

clapping of hands
stings in echoes
for life that flows
– sorrow no more

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