by Simon Cowan
(Mid Glamorgan, south Wales)
Where are your stories of the second world war?
We sat up, late into the night, you and I,
while you told me about your life as a soldier.
Light infantryman, merchant seaman and commando,
I loved them all.
Where are your songs that you used to sing, as you walked into the kitchen?
Old military songs, with reinvented, rude words.
Songs about sex, rats and bull rings.
They always made me laugh.
I sing them myself to remember.
Where is the produce from your allotment?
Onions, carrots, lettuce, so much more.
All organically grown, you were so proud,
we were so proud.
I've never tasted anything like them since.
Where is your lap, for my hand, thumb up, to ask if all is OK as I play and sing?
Waiting for your hand, thumb raised
'Everything's fine. Carry on.'
My thumb is raised in question now.
Where is your arm that guides me as we walk?
Showing me corners, steps and narrow spaces,
sloping down to show me a chair,
Protecting me from things to bump into.
You were an amazing guide.
Where is your hand, resting on top of mine to say 'I'm here. I've come to visit.'
as I lay
in a hospital bed,
bored, afraid, lonely?
You'll never know the relief you gave.
Where you are now, they say there is rest.
Rest until the day that lasts a thousand years,
when the one with many names, one name, no names
will decide your fate.
I'll see you there, father, when it’s my time. Till then
your hand, your arm, your lap,
your gardening, your songs and your stories
will never die.
I will remember them,
I will remember you.