I heard a father call

Today this would have been my father’s birthday. He was a poet, and I think he would have liked this one.

I heard a father call

I heard a hart bark from the wooded hill,
Where some days past they shot a gentle hind.
Is it for one he lost, he searches still,
Or does he call to one he hopes to find?
We all have lost someone we never thought
We’d learn to live without, their presence near,
Whose voice we’d know among a million, wrought
Of all the memories we hold so dear.
You had your children late, grew old too soon,
To see the field you sowed blossom anew,
Too many suns had risen, and the moon
too many cycles turned, but when you flew,
You left your love of beauty in this blood;
It courses strong as any bright spring flood.

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Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

30 thoughts on “I heard a father call”

      1. My younger daughter didn’t really know my parents. My older one was lucky, she got to know one of her great-grandparents too. It’s interesting, though, we talk so much about my family that I feel like they know them. My mother’s last surviving sibling just died, who my daughters only met a few times, yet we talk about her and her life very naturally, like they did know her well. I guess they do through my stories.

      2. It was like that for me too. I only ever knew my mother’s mother. her father died just after I was born and my dad’s father died when he was five. I never met his mother either. We could never really imagine my dad’s family. They seemed so distant and ‘foreign’. In our imaginations we skipped a generation and imagined his grandparents in Ireland which was much more accessible. Children build whole worlds around stories and we end up with strong visions of the past that might not be very accurate, but what does it matter?

      3. I’ve given up wondering which/whose memory is the right one. It doesn’t seem to matter. My sister did a bit of family tree research and came up with a life trajectory for my father’s father that bore no relation at all to the stories my dad told me about him, where he came from, his brothers etc etc. My sister doesn’t remember any of those stories at all. She’s welcome to the grandfather who transited via Clydeside. I’ll stick with the one I know.

      4. The past has gone materially. What’s left is impressions. One works as well as another. Just look at the millions who get behind an idea of the past that historians don’t remember ever having written about!

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