What I have always liked about my father
is his name, David, meaning 'beloved'
as, in another language, does my daughter's.
Under the layers of his illness and tiredness,
the unfamiliar weight that lumbers round him,
David is the thing that remains -
something rich and golden
like the polished wooden fruit he gives me in the dream,
the dream where he is well again,
standing in his workshop with his tools
offering to mend things, I take the fruit,
I take the lovely name, I hand it down.
Blues for Annie
Blue has always travelled
back and forth between us:
the package of tissue paper
spilling out petals of larkspur,
the jug on my windowsill,
pressed flowers, postcards
- the etching of the sea, the painted door -
fragments of china, forget-me-nots,
a painting on silk, a packet of seeds
that will grow into love-in-the-mist.
Things made of blue, wrapped in blue,
tied with blue ribbons or wools.
And now I want to send you
all the blue in the world
if it would heal you:
a whole field-full of flax,
the colour of the sea the day of the picnic.
I want to spread a blue sky,
cloudless, over you, surround you
with the honey smell of bluebells,
I want to give you indigo
the dyed cloth drying in the wind and sun,
and shower you with cornflower sapphires,
star-shaped gentians, the sky of their petals,
I want to let you gaze
into a vatful of the glaze
out potter uses on his bowls -
If all this blue could make you well
I'd wash your scarred skin in it,
I'd lay it like a mantle over you
but there are only words, the written
and the spoken, only thoughts and touches,
only these, and gifts of blue.