Bland On Bland – Left

Ian - Lomond HotelThe theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method is “LEFT” as in left behind. The poem came rather quickly as it helped me focus a few ideas I had left over from similar themes.

Click here for today’s poem [audio:JVG_Poem20090315.mp3]

Ed Bates is in his usual chair, playing slide and this week he put in a stellar performance.


I’m not certain when my father died, though I witnessed his last breath
His essence had fled long before the official time of death

His body, thanks to science, had for years forestalled the end
It was left the task to say goodbye – he himself did not attend

The funeral and formalities, though hard, were not the worst
That came when his possessions were dismantled and dispersed

Ruthlessly culling keepsakes, though sentiment screamed, we resisted
Till little survived beyond a few photos to prove he ever existed

The Salvos took his furniture – though hardly worth the trip
What didn’t meet their liberal standards we lugged off to the tip

His clothing went to the op shop, at least a dozen garbage bags
His ties to enliven a fancy dress party, his shirts, no doubt, for rags

His gloves would have suited a fisherman, I mean glove – we only found the left hand
His dark woollen suits would enhance the image of a brooding, young, post punk band

He came from a generation loathe to throw anything away
That broken brick or scrap of wood would find a use – one day

Old tiles and carpet off cuts, nuts and bolts, fused by rust
A bag of cement set solid, a tarpaulin little more than dust

Brooms without bristles, mops without handles, shoes without laces or tongues
A wheelbarrow wheelless – a screwdriver screwed – and a ladder missing three rungs

The puce dinner service my mother once cherished that rarely accompanied a meal
Now much prized as seventy’s kitsch – I hope some kid got a deal

The only physical reminder left was his loyal and forgiving putter
It now serves me, not on the greens but clearing leaves from the gutter

Finally, his home fell to the hammer – once cleared of all it contained
The more we threw out – like trees to the forest, the clearer I saw what remained

The love, the compassion, the resolute support outlives both the body and time
As does the heartburn, bequeathed by my father courtesy of cheap red wine

My mother’s presence has never deserted though she died twenty years before
As oil lends protection and colour to timber she still permeates every pore

While there’s nothing wrong with money – if it’s all you leave – what a shame
Cause hundred dollar notes, whether gifted or stolen, all look exactly the same

Mick Cameron sang “The Old Car Died” – but it’s memory lingers on
For Doug Mansfield there’ll always be “One More Beer” though he, himself, is gone

What endures is ours to keep – out of sight but not out of mind
Like Elvis, my father has left the building – but his putter remained behind

© Copyright 2009 Ian Bland<

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