Langstone Harbour

 

On 7th. November 1991 my father died. I walked by the shores of Langstone Harbour.

 

winter wind –

two geese turn

a broad descending circle

and end

facing it

knowing how to touch down

lightly

At the wake my sons looked after me sweetly, talked of family memories and had me laughing. I returned to Langstone Harbour and watched the birds, and watched yachts on their moorings as fishing boats motored by.

I lift, judder

spin and settle

in your wake

water in the bay

no trace

of the splashy wing beats

 

 low tide mudflats –

I breathe out

tremble

dense cloud

the colour of ashes

the sky is my father

One night, fascinated by the waves slopping inside a wreck with the life-force of the ocean:

between the ribs

of the broken boat

rises the moonlit tide

In the New Year:

 

bright cold morning –

for breakfast let’s open

the last of his marmalade!

On the anniversary of his death I stood on the ferry pontoon at Eastney Point, tasting the windblown spray:

grief, and breathing

the salty fragrance

of the deep tide drift

 

I revisited the Heath by the family home, where we scattered his remains:

under my foot

at every step

my father’s ashes

I inherited a dusty oil portrait of my father reading a book, painted in the forties, with a rip in the corner, and I commissioned a friend of mine who is a conservator to repair it, clean it and frame it.

 

his portrait restored –

my father

younger than me

 

 

 

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