Australians don't celebrate Father's Day till the first Sunday in September (the first weekend of Spring for us), but all the things I've seen online in the last few days have brought the issue of fathers to mind. My Father died suddenly when I was 21. He was only 49. I never grieved till i was in my mid thirties (about 15 years later), when our then minister's sermon about his own recently dead father, and his qualities, released an enormous grief in me for all the fathering I never experienced, the love he was incapable of giving. my memories of my father are still coloured by fear and weighted with regretful sorrow, I tried today to put some of that into verse:
Other trees shade and shelter, bear rich fruit.
Lush liveliness, and strength against the storm
But some are blasted; sere, with dreadful sticks.
This tree was blasted before I was born.
I do not know the history of trees
Or what befell, or poverty of soil
Whence came the sapless dryness of your branch,
The barren bitterness that marked your toil.
I do not know your story only mine.
This is not blame this telling of my tale
But simply grieving for what never was
The shelter never found against the gale.
Here I have placed a gravestone in my heart
For one most surely cut down in his prime
Before the blessing and the fruitfulness
And yet whose falling brought a sunnier time.
You were my fear, a shadow always there
Yours was the love I could not reach or earn,
Your lacks the wound which tore across my days;
Your affirmation something I still yearn.
I have another Father. By His graft
I am a living branch upon His vine
Here richest blessing given all unearned
I my Beloved’s am, and He is mine.