Thursday, 22 December 2011

w. s. graham

To Alexander Graham

Lying asleep walking

Last night I met my father

Who seemed pleased to see me.

He wanted to speak. I saw

His mouth saying something

But the dream had no sound.

We were surrounded by

Laid-up paddle steamers

In The Old Quay in Greenock.

I smelt the tar and the ropes.

It seemed that I was standing

Beside the big iron cannon

The tugs used to tie up to

When I was a boy. I turned

To see Dad standing just

Across the causeway under

That one lamp they keep on.

He recognised me immediately.

I could see that. He was

The handsome, same age

With his good brows as when

He would take me on Sundays

Saying we’ll go for a walk.

Dad, what am I doing here?

What is it I am doing now?

Are you proud of me?

Going away, I knew

You wanted to tell me something.

You stopped and almost turned back

To say something. My father,

I try to be the best

In you you give me always.

Lying asleep turning

Round in the quay-lit dark

It was my father standing

As real as life. I smelt

The quay’s tar and the ropes.

I think he wanted to speak.

But the dream had no sound.

I think I must have loved him.

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