The loss of my father

April 10, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Posted in Poem | 8 Comments
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Searching …

He’s with me, physically, in this garish room, but he is gone.

Shut behind a wall of pokies.

Staring fixedly.

Pressing his button.

Eking his way to the next,



This was his idea.

We were to ‘spend some time together’.

Mum was excluded.

Now, alone with him for the first time in years,

so am I.

Shut out from the moment he changes from the machine next to mine.

Looking for

‘the one with the gumboots’.

I scan the soulless devices.

There are no gumboots.

What happened to this man

whom I loved

and thought immortal

for 16 years?


16 more years have passed.

I am stronger, faster and aware

of the dreams and feelings of others.

He can’t even remember accepting the backup disks of my first novel

for safekeeping.

He is a husk.

He is rotting already.

I want to leave.

I look up suddenly from my scrap of paper.

He is walking towards me,


I love him still.

Pic by Newtown grafitti.



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  1. Wow. I feel the urge to leave a comment, but I have no words. I don’t like poems. But I absolutely love THIS poem. Goosebumps. Sorry your dad has dementia. Thank you for writing and sharing this, Paul.

    • Dear Micky, the words you just used were all you needed. Thank you so much for your kind response. It means a whole lot to me. Best regards, P.

  2. A very moving piece Paul. The ravages of time eh.

    • Thank you very much for your feedback. Yep; them’s the breaks it seems. In 30 years or so it’ll be my turn to take a number. May this realisation help me enjoy the life I have. Kind regards, P.

  3. This reads like a scene with my mother. Ours was a conflicted relationship, and for reasons beyond both of us. Not of our making. We were more like equals, than mother and daughter, two women who had each other’s measure. She is not to know how much I loved her, and needed her approval no less than my siblings. However, other factors came between us. She passed in the final stages of Parkinson’s disease, with all her children and grand children by her side. Hers was a life well lived. If my legacy has half the depth of hers, I will be satisfied despite the grind the rounds of the inane pokies.

    • Dear Catherine, it’s wonderful to see you again. And with such a moving contribution. Thank you for opening your heart to me and our readers. From everything I’ve seen of you, your life is being very well lived indeed. That’s the trouble with self-reflection: we’re all too close to the subject! Kind regards, as ever. P. 🙂

  4. Lovely, moving work, Paul. A powerful finish (to which I too can relate). Thanks.

    • Hi, Ad. I know the lengths you went to ease your dad’s decline. That makes your comment particularly poignant. Thank you so much.

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