Special Editions 2020


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.

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Patricia and her Dad

Zoe with her Dad

Three Poems by Susan Taylor

Two poems for my father, Harold Taylor

Easy does it

He worked with the soil
and with water
as well as wind and fire,
as an ordinary Lincolnshire farmer does,
the lift and the literal grind
of milling the grain
for hundreds
of head of stock.

It was a calling as natural
as his calling the cattle and sheep.
I was happy to walk
in the tread of his steps,
to gentle the beasts out of my way
when I fed them
at their mangers.
So, our life together was spent.

I remember him
walking the tilth with a hopper
strapped to him,
sewing out grass seeds
like an infinity sign on the air,
and scything
with the sweep and swoosh,
same rhythm as a man from way back.

Hand milking, morning and evening,
his voice rising
from the cowshed;
his baritone voice, just singing
in the comfort and shelter of cows.
The live warm milk eased out
for our table
and doting tortoiseshell cats.

And the lily shed;
my concern,
as a farm hand
stood with murring calves,
while he poured their essential share
into buckets,
a smooth stream
out of the churn.


Note from the poet: My calf rearing shed was called the lily shed because, when we took on the farm at a bitterly cold Lincolnshire Easter-time, we stored my mother’s Madonna lilies in there, before the weather was suitable to transplant them into the new garden.

Snow on the Dark Peak

He hardly ever wore gloves,
but I’ve raised a memory trace
of the time I held his hand
on a walk in thick snowfall.

He was wearing driving gloves,
the kind with string backs.
My connection to him,
awkward; the feel of pallid kid,

instead of the usual warmth
of his weathered brown palm.
So my first memory of his hands
is that climb on Kinder Scout

and my last memory of them
is seeing cold fingers threaded
each upon each, like lily buds
breaking over the end of his life.

Sandman

for Simon

Picture me on a beach with our children –
your children in newly liberated skins,
ready to play with you. Darling,

while you were away
we have run wild.

We have learnt to sculpt you out of sand.
Hold still – we are working on a way
to breathe the bones into you.


Easy Does It and Snow on the Dark Peak are both from Susan Taylor’s collection, A Small Wave for Your Form, published by Oversteps Books. Sandman was published in The Complete Bearded Stranger, Susan’s collection from Taxvs Press.


Susan Taylor began writing in her teens in the idyllic setting of her family farm in the Lincolnshire Wolds – Tennyson country. An ex-shepherd, she admits to having become something of a ‘turncoat’ now, with much sympathy for the plight of the wild wolf. She has eight published poetry collections, including ‘Temporal Bones’, published by Oversteps Books in 2106. Susan is a keen performer of her poetry and has developed and toured many collaborative poetry shows, including ‘La Loba – Enchanting the Wolf’ and ‘The Weather House’, which appeared as an Indigo Dreams Poetry Pamphlet in 2017.

A Poem by Wynn Wheldon

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.


Dadpics_0007
 Wynn with his father, the much-admired and fondly remembered broadcaster and BBC executive, 
Sir Huw Wheldon

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.

My Father’s Hat – by Jennie Farley

 

Oriental Panama, Size 6 (redolent
with Bay Rum hair tonic and Craven A).
It features in the family snapshot album.

Outside the Grand Hotel, Scarborough, circa 1936.
My father, hat on head, playing the giddy goat,
balanced on one leg in an ornamental urn.

It could be a Scott Fitzgerald beach party,
striped canvas hut, cloche hats and panamas –
except it’s Filey, where the wind blows chill

A few years later. Our garden on a sunny day,
Clutching a small shawled bundle beneath
his arm, the tipped hat shows his jaunty pride.

School Speech Day. Playing cricket for
the parents’ team, white flannels secured
by a striped silk tie, and panama. My hero.

My wedding. Dad in morning suit
escorts me down the aisle, but he’s
not my Dad without the hat.

The final snapshot. Forty winks
in a deck chair beside the sweet peas,
his bald head shaded by the hat.

To keep me safe I keep my father’s hat
on the back shelf of my car, as he did
in his old Ford V8 on family outings.

 

Jennie Farley is a published poet, teacher and workshop leader. Her poems have featured in numerous magazines, her latest collection My Grandmother Skating (Indigo Dreams Publishing) came out in 2016. ‘An only child I was treated by my father as a boy, his chum, accompanying him to cricket and football matches, on country rambles, playing tennis, singing old music hall songs, doing crosswords. He taught me independence, perseverance, curiosity, how to drive, and Latin. He was the perfect Dad.’