Squirrel's Garden

Blogging the highs and lows of my attempts at allotment gardening

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Location: Sherwood Forest, United Kingdom

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Tribute to My Dad


Last year I saw my Dad for the first time in over 20 years. He was 86yrs old but made the long journey from Australia and spent 3 months with us. He loved the allotment and spent time with us almost every day advising and helping out.
He was due to come for Christmas and stay until the summer but alas he is tending a more astral plot and is probably advising St Peter on the best way to grow vegetables for the heavenly kitchen.
I will miss him terribly but I am glad he slipped away peacefully in his sleep after only a short illness.
I hope you will accept this drift from my usual allotment stuff but I was moved to put pen to paper, and as the allotment is always a reminder of his time with us, for me this is not such a deviation at all.
Saturday October 26th 2007


The Call

I got the call today
The one I knew someday would come
I got the call today
The one to tell me this era was done

I got the call today
The one that I knew would come someday
The call to politely inform me that He had ‘passed away’.

Passed away! ............
Passed away?
This is the phrase we use when we don’t want to use the word ‘died’
Passed ......... away!
A phrase used like a shield, hiding the fact that we’ve cried.

A life snuffed out like a candle, just before dawn
Leaving me orphaned, bereft, confused and forlorn
Rejected, dejected, emotionally torn
Abandoned again, weary and worn

I got the call today
The one I knew someday would come
I got the call today
The one to tell me this era was done.

For eighty six years he trampled this earth living his life to the full
A stranger to me for forty or more
I was nought but a bride when he walked from my door
Taking all that I loved to some far distant shore
Was I to see my siblings no more?
Rejected, dejected, emotionally torn
Abandoned and weary, battered and torn,
Leaving me orphaned, caught like a seal, bereft by the cull

Today I got the call to tell me my father had died
Today is the day I sat down and cried
Cried for the loss of my Dad the second time around
Forty years ago I lost him to that far distant land
Found for a moment but like shifting sand
He slipped through my fingers
He fell from my hands
When I got the call to tell me...................................
My father had ‘passed away’

October 31st 2007

Did you know our Dad?
He was a man who was larger than life
Did you know our Dad?
He was no stranger to trouble and strife
Born in the valleys in a land they call Wales,
A fair land of music, of mountains and Vales

He worked in the mines at fourteen years old
Digging for coal, that Welsh black gold
Helping his parents feed a family of ten
Life was hard for folk, way back then
But that hard black dust that created such wealth
Clogged in his lungs and ruined his health

Did you know our Dad?

If you ever met him, you could not forget him
He was full of wit and Celtic charm
His voice from the valleys, could make the air ring
With such sweetness you would be disarmed

He liked a smoke and a pint, or better still, a whiskey or two
And he loved people. People like me and you
The Casino was his favourite haunt
To argue was his favourite sport
The pointing finger of authority he’d show
Ah –Ah. Ah-Ah
He would bellow if you tried to argue your point
We knew he had signalled the stopping point

We could love him.
We could hate him
But know one thing for sure
We could never ignore him
And we always came back for more

But now he has gone and the end of an era has come
But don’t shed those tears for this man of great fun
This man of charm and wit who lived his life to the full
Was also a man ----- who could be so full of Bull.
So when you leave this sombre place
Raise your glass with a smile on your face
Treasure his faults as much as his virtues
And be glad you knew this man
This man who was our Dad.

Dad
Your endless journey has begun, your soul is now free, find your peace and know that we loved you and we will never forget you.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Jean said...

Wonderful tribute !

2:39 pm  
Blogger sheila said...

Thank you Jean.

12:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry for your loss
loved your poems
be strong and take care
justin

6:34 pm  
Anonymous Tim said...

Brought a tear.

7:50 pm  
Anonymous Brenda said...

Such similarities...it makes me shiver. My Dad also died aged 86 on 5th August 2008. I had lost contact with him for about 18 years before being reunited just 5 years ago. He was a wonderful gardener and my earliest memories are of helping him collect sheep dung for his allotment. My allotment shed belonged to my Dad and is a constant reminder to me of him. When I'm working on my allotment.. that's when I have many happy memories..I'm sure you find the same comfort. Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem with us.

10:44 pm  

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