The Spell(Tempus Fugit) - Poem by Neil Crawford
Dad would stand and stamp off the rain
on the coconut kitchen mat.
Muttering curses that should have been in Welsh
(he was a Welshman trapped in an Englishman's body)
Poetry and politics made him passionate,
all else encompassed in their pincer grip.
The little yappy dog he initially disliked
would jump waist high in manic greeting
Wet with incessant Cheshire rain, the cloud soaked
denim of his work clothes dripped.
The aroma mixing with those of the evening meal,
hmm, overralls and chips..again.
Linseed oil, wood chippings, sawdust, pine shavings
all mingling, a kaleidoscope for the nose
The warm metal smell of handtools
all polished to chrome by constant use.
A soupcon of swarfega and a pinch of putty
helped to complete the recipe
Unlike his workmates, Dad eschewed a toolbox,
preferring instead a leather bag
Easier to carry on the bike he said
but it hardly, if ever, dried out
Now it gently moulders
in my rotting garden shed
the one final component in the formula
that brings him back to mind
like the ingredients in a sorcerer's spell
used to conjure spirits
Now when I saw a piece of wood
or paint something with oil based paints
Dad is at my shoulder showing me how to saw
or redirecting the wilful brush.
Perhaps I should treat it as a spell
compiling all of the above
'On a square of damp denim trace a circle
in oil(linseed) adding a blob of putty
sprinkle with sawdust and shavings(preferably pine)
a dab of turpentine would help
rub on a patch of old brown leather
and use to polish a disused plane'.
Dad, no doubt, would appear in the doorway
shaking off the ethereal downpour
I, of course, would be full
of the usual metaphysical questions.
But Dad, if I know Dad, would simply point
at the kitchen clock...and fade.
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