I keep an image of my father somewhere deep within me.
More a harvesting now of memories perhaps
It is autumn- the autumn of his life
He is in his garden leaning on a fork
Small fires imploding in on one another
With a muted crackle and soft thudding sounds.
And they take up the rhythm of his own father’s digging ,
A century ago;
Turning, scattering clods of clay,
A robin flitting - plucking, picking plentifully
Chirping plaintively.- scrutinizing with jerky movements
Each crumbling clod of clay.
Comes out with steaming mug of tea.
He takes the mug and leaning back on his fork
Takes a deep contented draught, inhales deeply
Through his moustache and takes in its deep reward,
At the end of the garden the empty pheasant pen,
A knot of steel every couple of inches
Evoke memories of fractured jaws he'd wired
Now a tangle ;
of wire and weed;
Of talent and toil
The hard track more the noble always
Than the easy option.
A shrine to his life ethic with - honour and optimism
A fractures flower pot; a lawnmower, an earthenware jar
Things that would never again be used
They were broken.
Fused there forever in his being ;
Beyond explication to another generation.
Which defiantly he splinted spliced,
And heroically kept it from falling down .
He’d put wallpaper on the sagging roof;
Just to emphasise his defiance and determination to the elements;
And with disinterested abstracted yellow eyes
And a cat crawling with deep intent
Along the bottle- glass imbedded in the wall
He had told me recently with a faint amusement,
And when you got there
You'd forget what it was !–
How funny age creeps catches up and make no doubt it will .
Like the little imploding volcanoes in the fire;
Making a slow burned out holes inhis memory
Fire slowly melting their borders and finally
That emptiness that betray the being
The gull sly and furtive in purposeful expectation of an easy quarry;
Both hunting with innate but savage instinct
Like the ravaging thief within his mind
Imploding his brain cells like the splutter of the fire burned low
It is autumn and the fire burns low
Steamy wisps waft on the evening air.
In the evening sky the broken clay banked,
Into furrows in preparation for next years potatoes
And the lusty loamy smell of clay foreboding and forbidding
Autumn in the faded day as the light seeps out.
The lusty, loamy ,funery ,smell of upturned clay
Before the misty clouds of smoke and from the crumpled fire
The dying leaf luxuriant in its last profligate splendour
And I like the comfort of the thought
In the broken clay with a robin at his feet ;
And a thousand wired and fixed things ;
His defiance and all the futile things
When purpose and righteous habit were one.
That serenity that sometimes blesses the aged
As they smile and ponder the frenetic haste of the young
Smiling at the contented swirling memories ;
More splendid now than when they were green
Smiling , swirling , sometimes fogged with mist .
Sears obsequiously trough the trees
Sometimes with the shrill clarity of a bell
Sometimes now I reach out to grasp the smoke
The season , and the e crumbling clay ,
The leaves , ,the robin , and fractured unfixed things
And I realize I am also wiring these strewn things
That were in his garden in his final autumn
I am harvesting all these autumn memories
And cement some selfish serenity to a yearning guilt .