Monday, June 7, 2010

father of my invention

Forgive the tardiness of posting this piece - I started it around Christmas but just recently finished it. I simply want to share it with you, even though it's seasonally tardy.

He died when I was three
so to say I knew him, I couldn't.
But to say I missed him -
that was simple enough - I
did, immensely, everyday,
but especially
around Christmas.

 At an early age I knew the
emptiness of not having a father
around, doing things
a father would do with his son.
But the pervasive loneliness
was compounded at Christmas,
perhaps because I could sense
enormous sadness in my
mother's demeanor.

Mother did what she could to make
Christmas special for my
brother and me, material
things, but there was
always a sense of deprivation, a
sadness even though
I never knew him. You
can feel deprived of something you are
not familiar with. It's easy. Look about
you at those who did have fathers.
The hollowness was
always there.
It still is, even at my age.

However, as a child I often dreamed of
him - gave him a face of
kindness, a face I could look
into, recognize up close and at a distance.
He was a father who always came home.
I gave him warm eyes that laughed at the
dollar-sized snowflakes outside,
gave him big hands to form snowballs
for me, and to pull me to my
feet should I
slip, and I gave him a
magnificent heart, a heart large enough to
encompass all that was special to him,
which would include me.

Mom remained a widow,
worked hard, got paid little.
But she made a life for the three of us
and tried her best
to make every Christmas
better than the last.
Regardless, and perhaps
selfishly, just beyond the
tinseled tree, the
crinoline bows and the presents,
I saw his eyes which would look into
mine and I saw a face I could never touch
but that I love to this day.
In addition to all that, I gave him a
love for his family that would have made
every day significant. He would
have made a huge contribution.

Occasionally, when I smell
coal smoke mingling with pine from
trees across the way, and
if the air
is crisp enough, the snowflakes
big enough,
it will seem like Christmas of the past,
and I will remember father, or at least
the father of my invention.


Adelaide said...


A lovely portrait of your father. Even though you did not know him, and this memorable description is all imagination, he was, and is, real to you, and your words make him real to me.


Bill said...

Pat's father died when she was five, but he has remained a presence in her life to this day. Through her experience, I can relate to yours.

Warren said...

Hi Adelaide and Bill, two very fine people, thank you for your comments - I'm very happy that the image of him came across in this piece and I appreciate both of you for responding so generously.


Gillena Cox said...

beautiful, dear a d personal;thanks for sharing with us;

invitation to 'Fathers' kukai

much love

Warren said...

Thanks Gillena - Your comments are very much appreciated! I'll come up with a haiku and enter the kukai - thanks for the invite!