Monthly Archives: October 2016

Meeting with Da

My maternal grandfather (‘Da’) died of cancer when I was 10 years old. He was a wonderful man, a German badly injured in the war but patched up and brought to England as a POW where he met my grandmother. He wasn’t a great talker, and hated especially to talk of the war, but he was easy-going, kind and loving. He would sit in the corner making Old Holborn roll-ups, then fall asleep smoking, always tired from his night shifts at the bakery.

This poem was inspired by a dark dream, some years after he died .

Meeting with Da

Last night again
a dream of Da.

It was a dark shore
and my mother
needed my help
in a ritual to reach him,
her father, in his sick bed,
out some way
through sea.

We trod carefully
on wet pebbles like eggs
that crushed down like mush

then found the link
of safer footing
that would take us out to him.

Side by side
we headed out
under a filthy sky,
nearby the white-flecked
chaos of the waves.

Then I spotted glass –
bright beads and chunks
and the broken necks of phials –
so we placed our bare toes
more tentatively

and finally reached Da’s cave.

On a bed on a dais
Da was naked,
brown and dying.

My mother set to nursing him.
After a while
he was able to hold himself up
to kiss me.

I kissed Da.
It was a bloodless kiss

like unminded death.

Meeting with Da first appeared in The Rialto no.47.

Interview on Carpinello’s Writing Pages

Just to let you know that I’ve been interviewed by the award-winning U.S. middle grade fantasy writer, Cheryl Carpinello, over on her blog – Carpinello’s Writing Pages. Click here to read it: