The Night My Father Died

Rating: 5.0

I wasn't home that stormy night
the fragrance of pink Frangipani had
forever captured me, that bittersweet
magician of soft velvet, alight
against the moon of southern seas,
my night was balmy though,
a thousand patient stars, so far
from distant cousins of the ancient home.

There were commitments here, you see
all flights were often booked, way in advance.
And come to think of it, what would it do
it was God's work to call him home at last
I'd be, to put it bluntly, in the way.

A tiny yet so icy hand had touched my face,
communication from the edge, but why choose me?
The night then blossomed through soft music, and a trance
descended on our little island from above.
In foam-flecked rhythm swayed small waves, in lusty dance
and I had grown some tender roots, a sign of love.

Across the miles he fought old lungs that would not breathe
a sign of certainty the candle had been burned,
those plastic lenses stared at all who had been trapped
oh what an irony to see the clever hands
of Doctor Cataract as he was widely known.

And he had commandeered my father's favourite chair,
though there was little in the way that Dad could do.
Or was there? All could see unhappiness, and that he turned
but it was only the last gesture as he raised
a yellowed and too bony, heavy hand, as if to say
'it is embarrassing to me for you to stay'.

So many worlds away, in Polynesian blues
beneath those lovely Frangipani blossom trees,
I could not know who had been sad and who had cried.
Perhaps the Gods will always get their precious dues.
I was not there that night when my old father died.

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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Gina Onyemaechi 05 November 2006

Moving and wistful, but without sounding self-pitying. Touching set of lyrics.

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Jerry Hughes 02 November 2006

Mein F, the ladies have stolen my thunder beautifully - indeed, a lump in the throat making poem...

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Alison Cassidy 01 November 2006

Dearest Herbert, what a touching moment you evoke in these beautifully penned words. I love the lyical verses fragrant with frangipani blossom juxtaposed against those stanzas penned in a more matter of fact way 'there were commitments, you see'. The last verse in particular was superb and very, very sad. love, Allie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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H, you just encapsulated in a few memorably penned stanzas my very worst fear, bringing tears to my eyes (and that's rare) . It's heart-wrenchingly brilliant, to the extent that words fail me. (and that's...) t x

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