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Les Littleford

(25 April 1943 / Warwickshire, England)

Dad


It’s fifty years today since dad died.

I was three when he returned, late,
from the horrors of Burma.
He died when I was nineteen.
Sixteen short years was all we shared,
and ruefully, I struggle to remember.

He returned to another war zone,
the domestic front.
Two good people,
changed irrevocably by circumstance,
just two more invisible casualties of war.

I recall fleeting connections.
Helping dad in the bottom garden,
his refuge from mum’s house.
A Christmas when each was served a baby chicken,
and we gleefully tore them by hand,
pretending to be Henry VIII.
Just once going to ‘the club’,
his territory.

But overwhelmingly I remember
growing up with two unhappy people,
from whom the gift
of relating to each other
had been untimely ripped.

I didn’t understand.
Didn’t know enough.

Fifty years on
When I reflect on what might have been
What I have

Then my heart aches for dad,
and mum.

Submitted: Friday, September 27, 2013
Edited: Friday, September 27, 2013

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