Happy Father's Day to all fathers everywhere, and if like me you are missing yours then I'm sending kind thoughts and I hope some happy memories your way too. Please do share anything you want to in comments.
After my mum died Mothering Sunday ambushed me big time, so I have been ready for today and will not be looking on it as a sad day (because we do have another father in the house after all) but rather seeing it as a wonderful celebration of all the lovely memories my dad has left with me.
Candlestick Press also do a wonderful pamphlet Ten Poems About Fathers which they very kindly included in their package to me, and Di Slaney explains in her introduction that, though there are plenty of poems that define so many aspects of their subject, sometimes anger and hatred too, they particularly wanted this one to be a celebration of fathers and fatherhood and so chose the poems accordingly.
It opens with Digging by Seamus Heaney...could there be a better starter for ten??
This one readily available online so I am posting it here...
Between my finger and my thumbThe squat pen rests; snug as a gun.Under my window, a clean rasping soundWhen the spade sinks into gravelly ground:My father, digging. I look down.Till his straining rump among the flowerbedsBends low, comes up twenty years awayStooping in rhythm through potato drillsWhere he was digging.The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaftAgainst the inside knee was levered firmly.He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deepTo scatter new potatoes that we picked,Loving their cool hardness in our hands.By God, the old man could handle a spade.Just like his old man.My grandfather cut more turf in a dayThan any other man on Toner’s bog.Once I carried him milk in a bottleCorked sloppily with paper. He straightened upTo drink it, then fell to right awayNicking and slicing neatly, heaving sodsOver his shoulder, going down and downFor the good turf. Digging.The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slapOf soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edgeThrough living roots awaken in my head.But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.Between my finger and my thumbThe squat pen rests.I’ll dig with it.