In Memory of My Father
Charles Albert Clark
16 October 1922 – 6 June 2016

I see your picture,
The young seaman,
Uniform pressed flat,
The seams and creases
Turned razor sharp,
No wrinkles in sight.

Then I see another day,
So many years beyond
With slackened skin
And sallow cheeks,
With wrinkles everywhere
And life long lived,
Of countless stories
That line the shelves
Between the bookends,
Marble monoliths
That mark the passage
Of your reign
Upon this earth.

I come to pay you homage,
My liege, my laird,
To once again sit at your feet
And drink your presence in,
To marvel at your wisdom
And swim within your depths.

Where once I saw a young man,
There now sits one quite old
And spent of years.

I touch your hand, your heart,
I seek to hold you back
Within that faintest grasp,
Yet, with each touch
I feel the life
Retreating from your hands
And coiling deep within your soul
Where no mere mortal
Will ever see it passing
Along these dusty roads again.

You are my laird, my liege, my lord,
The chieftain of our clan,
Who from my childhood’s depths
Has taught me of this day,
Too soon to come.

I hear the pipes a calling,
I hear the bodhran’s thrum,
I hear the footsteps marching
Of the honour guard that comes,
As rifle butts are beating
On the cobblestones below
And soldier after soldier
Turns to watch you as you go,

As the mist, in turn, enfolds you
Walking toward new life begun
In the still the mountains echo
With the Father’s Voice of love,
“Welcome home, my stalwart warrior,
To the Table you have come,
You have stayed the mighty army,
Yours is victory, Gunga Din, well done!!!”

– J. E. Clark
31 May 2016


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