Father and Son: a birthday


What can I give my father, what can I say
To thank the man now he is eighty-five?
He was the one who always had to give.
He gave me life and he was born today.

He looks so small. How little he must weigh.
It is so difficult for him to move,
For me not to seem too much moved. I lived
This helplessly? So close, so far away?

He finds some strength, looks with a knowing smile
On photos of his youth, his motorbike,
Risking his life for thrills mile after mile.
He gave it all up for my mother’s sake.

He rises from his chair. I hold his hand.
Both can still walk if one of us can stand.

I wasn’t brought up to be sentimental and I hope this isn’t. The style is plain, the meaning direct, the affection real.


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