father

DEATH WATCH.

You lay there
on the bed
with tubes and wires
coming from body and head.  

 

Tubes from mouth and nose,
eyes, those large eyes,
bright, laughing, kind,
now closed seemingly
in deep sleep.

 

You unaware
we were there,
we who loved you
and would have tipped
the scales of the world
to have you safe
and back with us,
who would have given you
limbs or body parts or eyes,
would have searched
the dark corridors of death
to have brought you back,
back with us, us whom
you loved and who loved you.

 

You lay there still and silent,
the day unfolding,
the artificial light betraying
the hours passing,
the minutes ticking away,
the hushed conversations
between us who watched
and waited, talks to you,
the telling of how things
had been and would be again;
clutching at hope like some rope,
wishing you on, watching
the dials of the machine,
the flashing lights, the hums,
the sounds, and you so still,
Stoic until the end, your
puffed up body, tinged with blue;
your hands, warm, soft,
which we took turns to hold,
arms which would have once
embraced, now still, unmoving,
touched, as if we might wake you,
see your large eyes open,
that hint of a smile, your smile,
that infamous smile and spread of lips.

 

You lay on the bed, tubed and wired,
unaware we were there watching
from the shore towards a deep sea
of approaching dark unbelievable death,
or maybe you were aware of us
standing or sitting there, taking
your last walk amongst us, unseen,
touching us, brushing a hand
against us as you passed,
and we unaware of you going by,
right until the last second of time
as we watched you die.

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HANGING IN THE AIR.

You left the door
of your washing machine
wide open.

 

I noticed that
when we fetched
your clothes
the following day.

 

You never did wear them;
after your death
we took them away.

 

I guess you, like me,
my son, thought you'd
return that day
to close the door
and carry on
with the wash.

 

You never did
return to close
the door or do
your wash again;
you thought it
was an old
problem returning,
a similar pain.

 

Your flat is rented
by some other now;
all your worldly goods
divided like
the cloth of Christ,
but with a sadness
and hurtful feel
handling your things
after your demise:
books, clothes,
CDs, DVDs,
hats and coats.

 

Seeing them again,
my son, brings lumps
to ours throats.

 

I wish I’d stayed behind
that night, not left,
thinking all'd be
all right.

 

What was it like,
those last hours,
when we weren't there?

 

I closed the door
of your washing machine;
a scent of you
hanging in the air.

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WITH US TODAY.

As the numbness
of your death
wears off,
the harsh reality
sinks in, bites
at the heart and nerves,
tightens its grip
about the throat,
clutches about the heart,
sends punches
to the head.

 

I still can’t believe you,
my son, are dead;
seems unreal
despite the reality
kicking in,
despite the hollowness
where once you were,
despite the silence
of your laugh and humour,
despite the absence
of your hungry bear walk,
the look you gave,
the softly spoken talk.

 

We put fresh flowers
on your grave, took
away the dying ones;
we stood and stared
and watched the plot
where now you lay.

 

Wish you were not there,
my son, but here
with us today.

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OUR LAST.

It is you, my son,
my first thoughts think on
at dawn's dull light;

 

it is you I hope to see
in dark dreams at night,
it of you my last thoughts hold

 

as I drift to my drugged sleep;
memories of you
I hold and keep;

 

years of yore,
of childhood days,
holidays and day

 

to day visits,
wishing things were
as they were before.

 

It is loss of you,
my son, that wounds
my heart, that tears

 

open and apart,
that final time
we spoke, solemn,

 

you in pain,
no light heartedness,
no humour, no joke.  

 

It is of you my son,
my mind returns to,
and the loss reminds me

 

of our mortal state,
moment to moment
ticking by, taking

 

for granted each day
we live, each person
we love, each kiss,

 

each exchange
of words we cast,
not thinking each

may be our last.

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REVISITING AN OLD RESORT.

We went by train
to an old familiar
seaside resort
with children
and grandchildren
and others as such;
and it was a good day
with fine weather;
and the laughter of children
and the distraction
of their enjoyment
on the beach, but you
my son,weren't there,
or if you were in spirit,
I was unaware.

 

But I guess you were,
there amongst us
tagging along,
your silence and humour
there in spirit,
remembering as I did
the days when you
were young and played
upon this beach
with your brothers
and sisters
of a much tender age.

 

I wish now I was able
to turn back to that time
as if in a book's page;
to relive those times,
hold on to the excitement
and youth of that time,
but time passes us on,
and on we go whether
we wish to or no;
the times passing us by,
moving us on
in a continuing motion.

 

The children played
on the sand, I watched
the wide expanse of ocean;
the constant rush of the tide;
the memories of you, my son,
out there, playing on the edge
with your bucket and spade,
engrossed in the game.

 

We went to the seaside and beach,
but it will never be the same;
now you will always be,
seemingly, out of reach.

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NOT BEING HERE.

I miss your humour,
the look you gave,
that twinkle in the eye.

 

I miss the smile,
mischievous,
but harmless,
healing wounds.

 

Your flat was emptied
and some other
lives there now;
I avoid the place now,
haunts me somehow.

 

I miss you coming in
for lunch and dinner,
your quiet presence,
your hungry bear look,
that soft foot tread
looking for food,
but most of all
I miss your wit,
your one liners,
that gentle humour
now gone,
but not forgotten;
aching heart,
as if wounded
and dumb rotten.  

 

Feel I ought not
to have left you
in that ward,
I feel I ought
to have stayed,
still haunts me,
I'm afraid.

If you come
in the spirit sense,
be near, talk,
even if I cannot hear.

 

I miss you son,
miss you
not being here.

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NOT MEND.

The Catholic priest came
and gave last rites;
you were comatosed,
though I expect you heard;
they say one does,
even then, shalom, amen.

 

We held your hands
most of that last day,
one of us staying,
whilst the other
(went for drink or such)
went silently away,
but too long or much.

 

Puffed up hand and arm,
your eyes closed;
tubes and wires
coming out
here and there;
all those machines
keeping you alive,
pumping away,
softly noisy.

 

We never gave up
you'd survive,
watched and held
and talked until
the last eased out breath.

 

A lonely place,
some say, is death.

 

We were there,
breaking up
at your departure;
didn't want you to go;
but you fought until end,
stoic, silent, Seneca like,
our son, and these hearts,
which no time
or words or prayers
or creed( at this time)
can mend.

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LONESOME SHORE.

Will it always be thus?
Grief pain stabs, unguts,
turns and turns;
all ifs and buts.

 

I sleep in the hope
to see you; have to be
drugged to sleep
and I can't remember,
my son, if I have seen
you or caressed or not;
enough to make my soul rot.

 

Dawn does not excite;
evening stretches before me
with its orange tang
and mellow
sickening glow.  

 

What was it like
those final hours
of wakefulness?
Should have been there,
if I’d known, I’d have stayed.

 

Human mistake
I’m afraid,
at least on my part,
wounded soul,
broken heart.

 

Your Stoic soul
sails on,
no doubt;
you'd have made
old Seneca proud;
me, too,
the way you coped
with all and more.

 

You are out
on that eternal sea,
my son,
I’m here
stuck
on this
lonesome shore.

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YOUR BLUE AND WHITE COAT.

Your youngest sister
wears your blue
and white coat now,
my son; it brings her
some comfort
since your
sudden death.

 

She zips it up close,
to keep her warm,
thinking you
are still there inside,
to keep her safe.

 

I remember
you wearing
that white
and blue coat,
on your way
to work or back,
or out for the day
in all climes.

 

They were
the good days,
good times.

 

You use to zip it up
close to your chin
to keep the cold out,
the warmth in;
hands in the pockets,
elbows back,
like some large bird
about to take off
on a long flight.

 

You have taken off now;
set your soul's keel
to the open sea
of eternity.

 

I sometimes dream
of you at night,
see you as you were
before the stain
of death approached;
your smile spreading,
your blue eyes bright.

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