PEN

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Brought back from Singapore, 
a gift to be handed down some day, 
bought at the fag end of a war 
you despised, on a private’s pay, 
pounds, shillings and pence the NAAFI 
hadn’t swallowed up – the fountain pen, 
a Parker, my brothers and I 
coveted, mine in all but name. 

A gift from son to father, and back 
again after he died, it lay 
at rest among her other relics: 
a porcelain plate, Chinese, faux; 
his nest of pipes; another plate, 
this one embossed, as if to lead 
me into its rustic idyll, Wait, 
it will come to you in time
, you said. 

In time it did but with this censure: 
It stays where it is to keep it safe
Black barrel, silver cap, lever 
filled, ink drawn from a carafe- 
heavy well as blunt as murder. 
I staked my claim by gradual use, 
initials first, AH, then signature, 
a flourish both grand and precise, 

in keeping, I thought, with a better 
life than mine, its cursive flow, 
the ease it would afford, letter 
after letter, enough to open any door 
if I could just perfect the art. 
Something about the feel of it 
between my fingers, the weight, 
how it seemed right to reflect 

before putting pen to paper. 
I retraced the paths I’d taken, 
every step, but it was nowhere 
to found, lying forsaken 
somewhere with the trust I’d mislaid. 
You turned away from me. Lost
There was nothing more to be said. 
Only our silences betrayed the cost. 

◄ In the Land of Grey and Pink *

THE HORSES ►

Comments

Tony Hill

Fri 9th Oct 2020 19:07

Thanks for the kind words, Martin. As the poem suggests, I searched high and low for the pen, but somehow it has fallen out of my pencil case. The incident was never spoken of again, but I knew I had let my father down. Tony

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Martin Elder

Fri 9th Oct 2020 18:23

such wonderful and rich memories. It is wonderful how one small object can evoke such memorise in us.

Nice one Tony

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