Intent – Poem to remember my father – August 27, 2012

Posted: August 27, 2012 in Samples of My Writing, Writing Posts

Here’s a poem from my new book Time Lapse to remember my father on what would have been his 92nd  Birthday Today August 27, 2012. Here is a picture of the four of us taken before my sister was born. Notice how my brother and I were dressed alike even though we were 22 months apart.


Children pressed faces to frosted glass as a moose
ran alongside the train
later in bright moonlight
a girl galloped a horse parallel to a cedar fence

I was one of the boys on that train, my father said
after drinking half a case of Old Vienna
and rolling a cigarette using Old Chum tobacco
the horse stopped abruptly
the girl sailed head-first and didn’t get up

The train kept going
he said and moistened the sticky rolling paper edge
with a quick lick and sealed it with a pinch of thumb and forefinger
lit the cigarette with a wooden match
struck against his pant leg

Years later I visited him in the hospital in Winnipeg
as he received chemo-therapy
after a while he turned the TV a bit louder
the actors having more to say

I thought of that girl and how I’d never know her fate
when my father fell asleep I went to the window
watched a quarter moon make its nightly progress
the certainty of that not what I needed
I closed the blinds
returned to my chair
sat in the same electronic glow
that outlined my father

  1. Marie-Lynn says:

    Both the poem and the photo are haunting…

  2. bill mctaggart says:

    I mislike using ‘resonates’ so I’ll say that your line,
    ‘the actors having more to say’,
    struck a chord with me that called up a flood of memories and images of my Dad.
    Thank you Robert.

    • Bill thanks for reading that poem and I am glad that you connected with that line. Words were not always easy between my father and I either. Lets hope it is better with our kids and us (which I am sure it is for you and Kyle!).

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