Kicking the Bar
Sometimes my father would come home in time
to run in the park in his old black tracksuit.
More often it was a walk round the block.
With no time it was just kicking the bar.
The first I would do grudgingly: “OK”.
The second I might enjoy – on a good day.
The final I would gladly take with him.
One way: kick. The other: kick. Then home.
Sometimes we were quiet. This didn’t bother us.
Sometimes he’d ask “How was your day?” I’d tell,
but I liked best when he told me about his.
Not enough OKs, never enough good days.
A version of Kicking the Bar was published in
Tiny Disturbances (Acumen Occasional Pamphlet 21, 2012).
It is also the title of Wynn’s biography of his father, published by Unbound in 2016.
Wynn Wheldon’s biographies are Kicking the Bar: A Filial Biography of Huw Wheldon (Unbound 2016) and The Fighting Jew: The Life and Times of Daniel Mendoza (Amberley, 2019). His poetry collection, Private Places, was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2015. Other books include The Father and Child Companion and World Famous War Heroes. He reviews books for a number of publications. He lives in London.