I remember you warning me about candles.
It was Christmas,
(well just before)
and I’d used a cardboard trophy box
to make my own advent calendar.
The sort with a candle for the Sundays
and two more for Christmas Eve and the event itself.
I think Joanna had made one too
and we brought them to show you and Granny,
proud of ourselves for putting them together.
You let us light them.
But probably only because everyone was stood there
and if something went wrong there were grownups
ready to leap in and save the day.
I learnt about France after you were gone.
Twenty-one with two friends and bikes
roaring across the country by yourselves.
Gran found the picture,
asked for it to be framed.
Seeing you young is strange.
It reminds me that my Grandfather
was not my father’s father
or the man my gran married,
he was someone else.
Someone who I never saw because I was born too late
and the sickness had set in
and children that age
don’t ask the questions
that you think about after someone’s gone.
I’ve been on a poetry binge for the last few days and last night I started think about how most of my family poems are written about my mother and her side. So this is me righting the balance somewhat and drafting up a piece for my Grandfather from my father’s side.