D ad told his aviation stories
E very time we met. It
M eant I knew them – sort of. His pride and joy –
E ach became grounded, one by one,
N o longer airworthy…
T il, getting my bearings, I turned a key
I n my voice and imagination,
A nd Flight Lieutenant Dean and I, we learned to fly together.
Senescence licks a disturbed light
onto his bedroom wall.
Sleep pitted by dark dreams
my pilgrim rises in good faith,
the pendulum of remembrance
striking a steady rhythm.
Octogenerian legs undone at night;
challenged by verticality
he leans heavy on the door
flexing old shoulders,
turning his head, slow, like this,
already unsure of his purpose.
Taking heart though (detected by his step)
he descends stairs unsupported,
collects his coat and keys,
and as simply as he can,
will have no more of this…
“I will have no more of this,” he says.
My Dad was a ladder maker
constructing kit for cleaners of windows
slow and steady in his craft putting pride before profit
his ladders rested upon sills and guttering
of every discerning domestic dwelling in Derbyshire
Dad only used good unblemished wood
free from faults and knots
he did not sell steps filled with putty mix
berating those who operate quick and dirty fixes
which may betray the trust of unsuspecting customers
From my Dad I learned to discover deceit
searching cracked smiles and creaking protestations
gleaning hidden truths beneath glossed over surfaces
his lofty craft keeping my feet firmly on the ground.
Dad collected clocks; meticulously winding, checking, synchronising.
Marvelling in the mechanism, ‘listen,’ he beseeched, and held us still,
as simultaneous hours struck irreplaceable moments.
With reckless disregard we hurtled through time;
complex histories mocking Dad’s imparted precision.
Still he held us – a permanent pivot in a plethora of progress.
Alarm bells rang when Dad’s clocks collected dust;
A family epoch ending, we watched his equilibrium tip.
Though pendulums slow, time must pass. We were ready at last.
Still now, we listened, and held our father close as time wound down.