My father, like me, was a carpenter,content with his mouth full of nails.
He made castles and soldiers, a house for our Lizz;
she cried when I filled it with snails
tucked into doll’s beds, with rags under their heads,
the floor stained with silvery trails.
He was proud when he built the beech platform
and a banner to show off at the Guild.
In hazy half-light he’d work into the night.We’d hear him tap-tapping, the banner flip-flapping.
When the news came the Guild would be cancelledthat year, he silently broke up the stage;
loaded the van and took off, a crazed-man.
He wouldn’t let on, but the beech planks had gone.
He took me one day for a walk in the copseto a sun-dappled spot he had found,
where a tree-house, majestic, sat high in the branches,
where a rope-ladder dropped to the ground.
He left the next weekend for somewhere abroad.We’d wait in our look-out for spies,
for parachute drops, or the sound of a plane;
didn’t know then we’d not see him again.