I don’t have memories of my mum’s dad, Just a vague recollection of his presence, in a house. His black leather armchair next to the hearth. I don’t remember his voice, telling me what he’d done. I have no emotion over his death. Mum turned up with his dog, so I knew that he’d gone. Funny That I was a teenager when he died, There had been time to get to know him. Maybe he wasn’t good with children, Maybe he was ill, although they never said. He had served in war, there was mention of Gallipoli. The one where the people in power failed us, and many were dead. Funny That He never talked about the war, But he could have talked about something else, Football, hobbies, his favourite car. His name was Pike. Maybe he’d been told not tell anyone his name, And taken the instruction too far. Funny That There’s a photo of me, as a toddler on a stone lion. He’s next to me, in a long coat and trilby hat. No smile or glint in his eye. No hint of pride or an emotional connect. Is this typical of this generation? Did his medals hide a mind that was wrecked? Funny That He ran a couple of fish and chip shops, Then got a good job in the gun factory. A life of carrying or making weapons. He used his local pub, they said. He ‘liked a pint’ but didn’t smoke. I bet he sat in the corner, happy in his isolation? Can’t imagine him at the bar, or anywhere sharing a joke. Funny That.
Copyright Alan Dawson 2021