To My Dad at 70

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Do I begin with the nail for the picture

That you hung on the wall

With so huge a nail

That there needed to be a picture

On the other side too?

Or the boat trailer

With a wheel

That would bounce off

Into the path of oncoming traffic

With alarming frequency?

Or the shed full of canaries

With Beatle fringes

And dummy eggs

That you’d slid into their nests

To encourage them to breed?

Or the Vespa scooter

That you would rev up

In the garage,

Scare me shitless with

But never ride?

Or the music

That you played,

The LPs I stacked up

And the CDs I’ve since shared,

A victim of your taste for lyrics and melody?

Or the fibreglass canoe

That you built from scratch

And insisted on

Towing us in

Sideways across the surf?

Or the rubber dingy

You would row us out in,

Bending it almost in half

Like Desperate Dan

In an attempt to be the furthest out at sea?

Or the hobbies,

That you’ve collected everything for

Guitars, cameras, golf clubs

LFC jackets

Stowed away in the loft?

Or the love of literature

And poetry

That you keep secret,

Able to help me

With my A level and degree texts?

Or your roar of laughter

When you discovered

A double page spread in the daily rag

Of your bike ride

To Strettham Water Mill?

Or the attempts you made

At making our household

More male

With pets;

That turned out to be girls too?

Or all the times

You’ve never openly damned

Any decision

We’ve ever made

Because you only care that we’re happy?

So I should start with that,

That you love

And are loved

For the funny, affectionate, grumpy man you are

Our Dad.

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