WRITE to LIFE – “the Father”

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These are the swings which would wing him to the moon,

My little brother, and the roundabout, from which

He fell that day and cut his hand. How soon

The past changes, and the skills I learnt

In babycare, him two, and me fourteen, stretch

Forward to these times. Never, never go back

To the place you came from, because each turn and tree

Drips with unbidden longing, half-bitter memory.

I could have stayed at home and done

Everything a parent does, for a little child;

I’ve done it, most, before, and you could still

Have earned good money in the job you love:

But no. With “a woman’s right to choose” – you chose –

Does a chap have expectations, commitment, hopes,

Projections to the future, doubt, inward woes Just as a woman does?

A child made in intimacy, Mutual support, togetherness, holding one another,

Just as I once supported Little Brother…

Down came the shutters – and, now, I don’t want

You any more – you’re just the past, bitter, obdurate,

And I can’t stand the way you won’t hold

My sister’s baby on your knee, or help

To spread his nappy.  Are you just stone?

Must I

Do such things as needed, must I alone

Carry the dark burden, and befriend regret?

No, Amber, I think it better

If you and I agree to say goodbye;

Because I look, but cannot see the sky-

Just this familiar play-park, and, remembering things:

A young child,

Wild with delight on swings.


Written by Joseph Biddulph 19th April 2016 for  WRITE to LIFE

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