In front of the big house, a wall made long ago. Caerbwdi purple sandstone, solid standing greys and blues. Washed with soft green, colour of the moorland mists. In places rough enough to catch, scratch at my black school shoes. In places slick enough to slip on, polished by the slugs and snails. Here, I danced like a prima.
Below, a long narrow patch, spreadeagled to the sun, rows and rows of little fires. Dahlias, on the lam from Mexico, in my grandfather’s glowing garden. Growing fierce, throwing heat, bigheaded and blowsy but stupendous, just the same.
There he would be, hard hands snipping blooms, bending double from the waist, braces strained. Seeing the prima, he would stand, lift up his cap, dishevel his dark hair and from a pocket take his teeth, put them in and smile ceramic. Standing tall as Bendigeidfran offering the prima a bouquet of flames.
Bendigeidfran – A legendary Welsh giant.
Catherine Baker has been published by Prole, Stand, Snakeskin, Atrium and Amaryllis. She was highly commended in the Prole Poet Laureate competition 2020. Catherine’s poems in anthologies include Poetry from Gloucestershire, Ways to Peace and Pandemic Poetry. In the GWN poetry competition she was runner-up in 2018 and highly commended in 2020.
I still see you now, standing behind the counter in your shop coat, with your eye on the scales, deducting a copper or two from the price for the poor, regaining it from the rich.
I can still see the columns of figures so neat and accurate in your ledger, your unfailing grasp, not only of numbers, but of economics and politics, far exceeding mine. You were not much older starting work as a grocer’s delivery boy than I was going to the Grammar School. I try to imagine you, your face pale under your flat cap, your frail body battling with the bicycle’s heavy frame.
After university I became a teacher; you both thought it would be easier than the life of a nurse or a small town grocer. My ledgers were mark books, attendance registers, the many pointless records governments demanded, my customers often recalcitrant. As time went on I found my satisfaction in helping students who were disadvantaged to realise potential they scarcely knew they had – trying, just like you, Dad, to balance the scales.
Jenni Wyn Hyatt was born in Maesteg but now lives in Derbyshire. She writes serious and humorous poems, also short forms such as haiku. Her father, Edgar Williams, 1905 – 1965, worked as a grocery assistant, grocery manager and wages clerk before finally owning his own shop.
When Good Dadhood first ran, back in 2017, it featured two Special Editions, in addition to the poems appearing on the ‘front page’ of the e-zine. This year, we had much pleasure in again presenting an Easter Special, showcasing eight poems https://gooddadhood.com/easter-special-edition-2020/.
Now, as the 2020 Good Dadhood period approaches its culmination on Fathers’ Day on Sunday 21 June, it is a delight to present another Special Edition, featuring five wonderful poems from Patricia Ace, Zoe Mitchell, JLM Morton and Jenni Wyn Hyatt. To read their poems, please click on this link: https://gooddadhood.com/special-edition-ii-2020/
Also, please do check back here on Saturday for three poems for Father’s Day from Alwyn Marriage.
Meanwhile, here are two lovely photographs from Patricia Ace and Zoe Mitchell … with their Dads.