One Half of a Conversation – by NICK KITTO

One half of a conversation

 

I didn’t ever really know you, I’ve become used to not knowing you

It’s been many years since you left, that I’ve been bereft

Missing the distant memory of you

I only know of you from what others say, older half siblings

You were a hero to them, brilliant scholar, sportsman, chess God

A pilot who did heroic things, was immune to nettle stings

Those young child memories hold you in high esteem

No faults, a paragon of excellence, a pipe dream

Did you really land your sea plane to rescue a man from the water?

That’s what my sister, your daughter, told me

And that you would hold me as you drove her and me in your land rover

We were two of eight, me and her, all those children

Milling around like you spilled them

When I thought things a lad might ask his dad

I couldn’t ask a question that you couldn’t answer

I have a murky memory of a game of cricket on the lawn,

you running between the wickets

But we never had a kickaround

You never took me to a football ground

Didn’t help me with my homework

You couldn’t fix my bike

Don’t know if you made jokes

Or what music you liked

Maybe you could have helped me musically

They say you played the piano, but not rhythmically, a bit like me

If you’d been around my life would’ve been different I’m sure

Gone to different schools, read different books, not been so poor

I envied my friends who still had a dad

They’d do guy stuff together

I don’t know if we would have done that but it would have been good if we had

I wonder if you are in a place

Where you can wonder the same things too

And if you are, then whether you do

If you think what might have been

What together we could have seen

What was your favourite colour, did you like honey?

Your favourite singer, who did you find funny

You likely don’t know these things about me I know

Those things may have been different if you’d reached eighty or so

I still miss the vague memories of you

there are of course only a few

Blurry images, much like the real photographs I had

Black and white images of kids with their mum and dad

Sitting in the garden eating a peach and one of you on the beach

Next to the pram that held your baby girl

It must have been just months before you died

I wonder if you knew then you were so sick

You look pensive, distracted

Maybe you were wondering what you’d do if she cried.

I wish I’d known you better, longer, our bond had been stronger

But this way you do have an air of mystery

And all I know really is that we all have our versions of you

And my version of you, of us, our history

Is that you were my dad and I loved you.

***

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Nick spent most of his childhood in Cornwall, hanging out at the beach, enjoying the outdoor life, which he still does to this day. He is a musician and poet. Coming from a songwriting background Nick has been writing poetry with a view to performing for the past 18 months or so, although he has written simple little poems for as long as he can remember. A regular performer on the Devon poetry circuit, Nick writes on a whole variety of subjects from ecology, to food obsessions, dysfunctional upbringing, anti-Islamophobia to an ode to a guitar. He may well not be as funny in real life as he is in his own head!

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