(FOR MY FATHER)
You picked splinters
with a pin each day
from under blackened fingernails;
shreds of metal
from the shipyard grime,
minute memories of days swept by:
the dusty remnants of a life
spent in the shadow of the sea;
the tears in your shattered eyes
at the end of work.
And your hands were strong,
so sensitive and capable
of building boats
and nursing roses;
a kind and gentle man
who never hurt a soul,
the sort of quiet knackered man
who built a nation.
Dad, I watched your ashes float away
down to the ocean bed
and in each splinter
I saw your caring eyes
and gracious smile.
I think of your strong silence every day
and I am full of you,
the waves you scaled,
and all the sleeping Tyneside streets
you taught me to dance my fleeting feet along.
When I fly, you are with me.
I see your fine face
in sun-kissed clouds
and in the gold ring on my finger,
and in the heaving crowd on Saturday,
and in the lung of Grainger Market,
and in the ancient breath
of our own Newcastle.
‘This is one of the poems I'll never forget. I see the struggling of my own dad in your words.
Thanks for your fine poem.’ (Klaas Drenth)
‘Beautiful poem. Loving, moving memories. Most excellent Keith.’ (Strider Marcus Jones)
‘Love the poem Keith. That’s my dad.’ (John McMahon)
Annie Sheridan ‘Beautifully visual Keith, nice to share your memories.’ x
Imelda Walsh ‘Lovely poem, loving memories too.’
Kenny Jobson ‘So, so good, Keith - I'll share this, if you don't mind.’
Posted by keith armstrong at 8:55 pm