Tuesday, 30 April 2013

My Father's Steps

My father developed a curious walk
after he took the pledge,
Foot-falling spot carefully chosen
as if he were treading a narrow ledge
on the rim of a great lake of porter.

Inhale twice, exhale once,
between each ponderous pace,
I never saw anything so measured,
Square root of a sober face,
Dry now since October.

Even as he stepped to the side of his bed
to ground his prayers in a trance,
He left just enough room for his knees
as would any lover of the dance,
Jig or reel,above her.

After the pledge he trod carefully
never treading on her dreams,
A decade of years and one of the Rosary
and then it all ended it seems
to my bended recalling.

He went back to his random gait again,
Little regard for steady or sure,
Sometimes a rock, often a leaf,
three months rich, six months poor
at the whim of the demon.

Today in my wanderings it came back clear
in the trees, from my own out loud talk.
Of late my own young man said wryly,
Dad, where did you get that funny walk
I never noticed before”.

(dedicated to Edward, grandson of Ned)

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