A Boys Own Hero

Dad is long gone now - nearly twenty years.
I still see his face with the deep lines etched
At the corners of his mouth from the beers
He’d consumed with smacking lips - beer I’d fetched
Home in a jug from the pub. Dad appears
The way he was before the day he retched,
Puked, and lay back in his reclining chair
The cushion crushing flat his steel-grey hair.

Dad never got up from that chair again.
His body shrivelled like an old apple
Left lying on the ground in sun and rain.
He died within a week. At the chapel,
Unknown mourners said “He’s been spared the pain,
Thank God.” But we remained, left to grapple
With grief at the dimming of those bright eyes
Hearts heavy as we said our last goodbyes.

But life does go on, pain passes. I see
Dad in my mind’s eye still - giving pleasure -
Sipping from his pint pot of sugared tea
Telling tales of finding buried treasure
On ghostly wrecks in the Sargasso Sea -
Battling giant squids for good measure -
A boy’s own hero fearless, strong and proud
By all life’s terrors, and in death, unbowed.

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Written for my Dad who was a modest man, without malice, and whose actions spoke louder than his words, Sorely missed.