The Will

Never materialistic have we been, it’s just as well;
Some fathers leave castles, a figurative fell,
Some leave houses of words and gardens of spells,
Yet you unsewed the seams of life’s apparel.
You left a dead cactus on a windowsill,
Spooned out hope and with hopelessness filled.
You don’t have to natter with dolphins and whales,
You don’t have to be general to an army of snails,
You don’t have to dispense the wisdom of quails,
Just earn the paternal, and love will prevail.

For a material life is simply a shell,
Some fathers leave daughters to write of the knells;
Some fathers leave laughter and kites in a meadow,
Dunk your toast in mulled wine for an ordinary fellow;
You left a space which the words could not fill,
You forgot about grace, amnesia swilled
Into our veins and over the hills.
Put up the bunting, with samphire and dill.
They’ll excavate bodies but with hearts decomposed.
The urn was empty; no cars on the roads.

***

You don’t have to don crowns of roses and thistle,
You don’t have to own the tracks to Haltwhistle;
You don’t have to sing with beer in your breast,
Just fulfil your title and your children are blessed.

***

Supermarket panic attack,
Scratches three on my arms and back;
Housebound harbinger of swan’s flight,
You didn’t have the decency to write.
So I read your will in a backwards fashion,
Revisionist rehash lost of passion;
These are the forms of love that you gave,
Impaired blots I prise from your grave:
Relations unable to talk and remember,
An irrational fear of reaching November;
A girl without food in her stomach fasting,
A boy who speaks through bleak paintings of Suffolk,
Horses untreated, unfettered and lame,
A rubbing of hands and circular blame.
They shot the horses which could not walk,
But what do we do when I cannot talk.

These final gifts you gave, with a cactus aside;
A pall of dissent; black dress for a bride;
The ethanol’s scent took years to withdraw,
An upside-down horseshoe, a bird without claws;
A shelf without trophies, a bank with no card,
Your body washed up on the Thames near The Shard.
A ghost-watchman’s London, a different world’s choice,
You bartered your name, and I found my voice.

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