I had a father once, the records say.
He has gone away down the long avenue
Of death, on the hand-held minor no mist
Of his breath, his firm signature no more.
No more holding down his hat in the wind,
Running to catch the last post, he has gone
Beyond the wind-shaped stones on the high wall.
His breath in that final coma came steady.
Stertorous, the oxygen mask, the catheter,
The telephone call summons and night train,
The taxi over the moors, the charge nurse
With little to say but kind words.
I had a father once, the records say,
Who carried me on the cross-bar of his bike
Down Knostrop: we saw the white bells
Of bindweed crawling with ants
Strangle the rusty railings.
My father, a quiet man, never knew what
To say, which is why he was taken
And I was not told and the records say
It was pneumonia that took him
And I was not told why the anti-biotics
Were not given.