My Father Was A Sailor
( For my father, Eric Dodd, born August, 5th, 1923, died, January, 2009. Published in his memory in the Liverpool Echo on Tuesday, 11th, August, 2009. )
My father was a sailor in the war,
was twenty two at its end.
On the deck of his corvette, saw the ships,
the convoys he helped defend.
The Great Pyramid of Egypt, he saw,
vast seas for whales to wander,
the stone guardian angel with her lamp,
anchored in New York harbour.
In time of peace, to England he returned,
worked as a plumber by trade,
water ways of pipes he fixed, cleansed and cleared,
of a house a home he made.
My mother said she met him at a dance,
smiled to think of days gone by.
He was good to her and that matters most.
Far and faint, the seabirds cry.
He left us here, to voyage out, alone,
skilled to steer his ship to shore.
My mother waits to greet her sailor home,
summer stars outside her door.
Baskets brim with apples on a table,
a brown pot steams with fresh tea.
On a plate a cake of nuts and cherries,
on walls, portraits of the sea.
And in a berry bush chirps a robin,
by a hedge a ladder leans.
A shed shelters tools to tend a garden,
truth tells itself what it means.
All is clear, in golds and greens.