On My Father’s Birthday – Two Pieces

October 1, 2014 § 4 Comments


Love and Gratitude to my beautiful father who would have been 84 today…
“There’s a red line from my heart to your heart.”

Here’s to any of us missing our dads
Love to you
John xx


There is a red line extending through
a past from my heart all the way back through
a series of cut out paper shapes,
images of my father, his large presence
when I am a small boy, the gaps in between
his returns after my parents’ split,
the moments of each of his reappearances.

The red line has been covered in leaves,
covered in footprints, forgotten from the map.
I have driven other roads, taken different trains,
eavesdropping conversations, holding on
to love so tightly in the absence of the line.

It lay untraced for thirty years, there but unseen,
present but not spoken about, walkable
in the space of heartbeats once rediscovered.

His large presence when I am a small boy.
The man of now wanting his father’s love.
The gaps between his returns, when I am full
of other stories so that I don’t need him.
The moments between each returning,
when in his losing his grip on his family
he tried over and again to demonstrate his love.

There is a red line extending from
my father’s heart to my heart. I have swept
the leaves and cleared the dirt from it.
The grown man can love his loves, kiss rather
than fear loss, pull tension into the bow of love,
launching arrows tied with red streamers
into the very sky

by John Siddique

(First published in RECITAL – An Almanac)

You can hear me read this poem for my dad here…

Room For The Invented Father
(Revised Version)

His walls are plain.
The colour of the room
quilted from book spines.
A sense of ozone.

Comfortable, but not opulent.
His pictures; abstract joy and found things.

A couch of welcome.
A table of manners.
The window reaches over the year,
as it changes. As I observe him,
push against him,
become more like him.

And his chair,
like a sea captain’s or a poet’s.
His back mapped into the leather.
His mixture of pipe smoke,
and his autumn in the woodsness.

This room is lived yet immaculate.
Amber nut wood floor
shining from its washings and
our stockinged feet.

by John Siddique

(First published in  ‘The Prize’)


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