Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my dad's birthday. Here is a poem I wrote for him in 2007...

My Father's Music

If I close my eyes I can hear
The soft crackle of the turntable
Gordon Lightfoot singing
Bitter Green they called her
I can feel my father’s fingers
Waiting for the sun
Strumming along
Waiting for someone
On my arms, cheeks, forehead
To take her home
It takes me home

And then I can hear
The roaring in my infected ear
Soothed by the sound
Of my father singing
I ain’t got a penny
In the softest monotones
For Cotton Jenny
All night next to my bed
To spend but then
So sweetly flat and faint
The wheels go round
Until the mercy of morning

Close them once more and I can feel
The rustling of my mint green
Dress-up dress
On a date with Daddy
Out at the movies
Chim chim cher-ee!
Just him and me
When you’re with a sweep
No brother or mother
You’re in glad company
Such glad company

Last night I opened my eyes
In a hospital bed with tubes
Sticking out of my stomach and head
And my father’s turntable
Jennifer slept
Crackled again in my post-op mind
In her little bed
The mercy of his music
With dreams of a rabbit
Strumming me home
In her little head
Keeping me company
Through another dark night

Lyrics by Gordon Lightfoot and Tom Paxton and from Mary Poppins


  1. This is so poignant. I don't have memories like that of my father, so I'll borrow this one!

  2. Simply stunning. I always cry with I see Dads with little girls. Maybe you were one of them!

  3. Bessie--feel free to borrow these memories any time. I told my dad about your comment and he loved it.
    Kathleen-I love seeing dads with little girls, too. I don't have any daughters, but would have loved to have seen my husband with a little girl.