I don't recall meeting my father

Except in a photograph;

I was barely four years old

In this family epitaph.


My mother, sisters and brother

Are stood and sat around,

While my father gazes at me

From a chair close to the ground.


Already gaunt and painfully thin,

I wonder about his fear

That TB would see that rictus grin

Gone within the year...


Leaving my mother alone

To cope as best she could

With three daughters almost grown,

The rest of us trying to be good.


Two girls were to marry young

And head for the USA,

Wartime romances blossoming,

Seeing them live far away.


My elder brother and I

Discovered disciplined careers

That saw us survive to pension age,

Well prepared for later years.


But occasionally my eye will fall

On that forties photograph...

A silent gathering of sadness

Its eternal epitaph.








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M.C. Newberry

Fri 27th Jan 2017 19:01

TD, JC and PW - many thanks for the positive remarks.
My father was from Victorian Devon farming & inn-keeping
stock. He managed to survive the Western and Italian
Fronts in WW1, then the violence of post-War Irish efforts
to shrug off British rule, and was again in uniform for WW2
before succumbing to a disease that would see a cure
not long after his death. He deserved better and so did
his wife - my mother, left to fend for family and self, but
not bowing to the pressures that she faced, finally
passing on herself after marrying twice more - aged 90!
They don't make 'em like that anymore.

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Paul Waring

Wed 25th Jan 2017 22:24

M.C. as Tom and John have already commented, this is a poignant (and very touching) poem. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal. Paul

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John Coopey

Wed 25th Jan 2017 20:48

Indeed, MC. A poignant insight.

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Tom Doolan

Wed 25th Jan 2017 13:00

Hi M.C. - Very touching and poignant. Something I can relate to.

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