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Monday, 22 June 2015

Little Scraps of Wisdom


Yesterday was Father's Day and I didn't see my father. I had just got back from a week's holiday in Devon and he was away. I texted him late in the evening, but I haven't given him a card or present. I struggle every year on both Mother's Day and Father's Day with buying gifts, because how do you really say thank you for a lifetime... or even for a year. How is there only one day to express gratitude for everything they have given you.

Last year on his birthday I wrote a piece on Things My Father Has Taught Me (So Far), something I recycled and added to in a speech I gave at his recent 60th birthday party. This Father's Day, I was at a loss as to what I could write to explain how grateful I am, then I came across this quote online... 

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum

It has inspired me to try to write a poem on these little scraps... so here it is... and Happy Father's Day, Daddy - a day late - I know...

Little Scraps of Wisdom

Safety is the best feeling you can give someone, safety and calm;
When I had nightmares you took me under your arm.
And now when I speak to others, I try to help them feel as secure
In the moment, the conversation, in themselves.
For fear disarms us.

Little gestures of kindness that I never acknowledged at the time
Punctuated my days with you. 
And now I try to be generous everyday too.
You never let me win any game, even aged five
And debated with me even then.
Now I'm a fighter.

Our conversations went on for hours, still do.
So if you didn't have time to finish it, you wouldn't start it.
A lesson I'm still learning.

You were proud of me when I did well, but not sycophantic;
You knew what I was capable of, even as young as I once was.

I loved to hear tales about your travels about all the people around the world,
That you'd met, that you'd spoken to.
You made me dream of travelling far and wide across the earth.
And you never thought you were better, so neither did I.
Despite the privileges afforded to me.

Bad language wasn't clever you said, it's an easy way out.
You have so much at your disposal, no need to sound like a lout.
There's never an easy way to achieve something great.
Whether money or success or respect, you have to graft.
You did graft.

Making the effort with family often seemed like a chore to me.
You respected the bonds of history.
And I loved having all those people around,
And I love to love.

You always have opinions on everything, with fire in your eyes.
Yet you told me of how you were dyslexic and shy.
I never saw it when I was young;
Except when you asked me to spell things.
To me you seemed like a lion, loved by all.
Yet you never made me feel small.

*******

Apologies for the lack of posts. I have fallen of the waggon in my #100DaysofWriting. Getting back on it now...

 

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