Father


There is no limit to the number of times
Your father can come to life, and he is as tender as ever he was
And as poor, his overcoat buttoned to the throat,
His face blue from the wind that always blows in the outer darkness,
He comes towards you, hesitant,
Unwilling to intrude and yet driven at the point of love
To this encounter.


You may think
That love is all that is left of him, but when he comes
He comes with all his winters and all his wounds.
He stands shivering in the empty street,
Cold and worn like a tramp at the end of a journey
And yet a shape of unquestioning love that you
Uneasy and hesitant of the cold touch of death
Must embrace.


Then, before you can touch him
He is gone, leaving on your fingers
A little more of his weariness
A little more of his love.

By Emyr Humphreys

Stephen Tobin, 1913 – 1988

The Poetry of Things

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