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My Father's Garden - His last Autumn

Poetry By: donkylemore
Poetry



memory of my father in his garden


Submitted:Aug 22, 2008    Reads: 415    Comments: 5    Likes: 5   


I keep an image of my father somewhere deep within me.

More a harvesting now of memories perhaps

Or wiring them together in my mind
****

It is autumn- the autumn of his life

He is in his garden leaning on a fork

Among the scattered clay
A bonfire smoulders listlessly

Small fires imploding in on one another

With a muted crackle and soft thudding sounds.

He moistens his hands

And they take up the rhythm of his own father's digging ,

A century ago;

Turning, scattering clods of clay,

A slow metronome;
Unfettered by the passing decades;
Unhurried by urge or impetuosity ;
Rather looking ahead to see;
If there was another days work ;
Hoping that somehow;
There were too many;

A robin flitting - plucking, picking plentifully

Chirping plaintively.- scrutinizing with jerky movements

Each crumbling clod of clay.

My mother in from town ,

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,

Weaves of chicken wire,

A knot of steel every couple of inches

Evoke memories of fractured jaws he'd wired

In the s Western Desert ; sa dentist with Montgomery;

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

Wired pieces all around;

A fractures flower pot; a lawnmower, an earthenware jar

Things that would never again be used

But had to be wired back together
Because it was a duty -

They were broken.

And an ethic forged in a time of privation

Fused there forever in his being ;

Beyond explication to another generation.

***

The summerhouse sagging with age

Which defiantly he splinted spliced,

Patched and eventually also wired

And heroically kept it from falling down .

He'd put wallpaper on the sagging roof;

A pattern of blue china

Just to emphasise his defiance and determination to the elements;

****

A gull lands uncertainly

And with disinterested abstracted yellow eyes

Slyly sees what's going on

And a cat crawling with deep intent

Along the bottle- glass imbedded in the wall

***

He had told me recently with a faint amusement,

Of self deprecation
How funny it was how,
When you got older
How you went in tothe kitchen to get something

And when you got there

You'd forget what it was !-

How funny age creeps catches up and make no doubt it will .

**

Holes opening in his memory now

Like the little imploding volcanoes in the fire;

Making a slow burned out holes inhis memory

Holes that cant be plastered

Fire slowly melting their borders and finally

That emptiness that betray the being

Like the stealth of the cat
Creeping along the wall

The gull sly and furtive in purposeful expectation of an easy quarry;

The feline green eye parries
The wild-eyed yellow-rimmed gull's

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

More steam than smoke

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

***
It is autumn in his garden
And the leaves blow up
In playful torrents round his feet
Autumn in the drifting steam smoke,

Autumn in the faded day as the light seeps out.

The lusty, loamy ,funery ,smell of upturned clay

A backward glance
With a happy sense of a day requited
He sinks his fork in undug clay
And estimated the toil of tomorrow
****
Easier to remember him in autumn
Before the remorse of my winter

Before the misty clouds of smoke and from the crumpled fire

The dying leaf luxuriant in its last profligate splendour

It was his final autumn

And I like the comfort of the thought

That he was happy there ;

In the broken clay with a robin at his feet ;

And a thousand wired and fixed things ;

With his private thoughts ;

His defiance and all the futile things

His hard wired frugality
Tempered in another time of much less splendour

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

And the folly of their vehemence and intensity ,

Smiling at the contented swirling memories ;

Whisked up like autumn leaves .

More splendid now than when they were green

Smiling , swirling , sometimes fogged with mist .

The last light comes rasping
Through the leaves
The last frosted light of evening

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

To give fabric to my fancy

And cement some selfish serenity to a yearning guilt .





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