Saturday, 13 January 2018



In the morning, I found his letter.

He’d wanted to show me his writing,
bursting with tousle haired five-year-old pride
his foolish, rumpled Grandad by his side
because together we’d spent his young hours
drawing words into hearts and spring showers.
And I’d taught him how to guide his pen,
convinced him that now and then
we’d write down thoughts like all wise men.

In the smudged ink
of one of my old, dusty biros, the letter read:
‘Dear Daddy.
I am sorry I haven’t seen you for a long time.
Your special boy.’
And he’d crafted carefully with thought and love
with hardly a mistake to speak of.

Well, you know, I could have told him.
But all I could manage was a watery grin,
my words held choked as I ruffled his hair,
how in all innocence that this world is never fair.
I wanted to put my arms around him and take it all away,
and tell him how your smile warms my day,
that I have more than enough love for us two,
how I could never bear any harm coming to you.
That you are my special boy, I’d loved from the first
time I’d held you, and how my heart just burst.
I should have convinced him a Grandad is better,
but the truth was already written in the letter.
And these words I had taught him scarred his heart,
a foolish old man, who’d been there from his start.

In the morning, I found his words on my desk.
So I did the only thing I could,
I kissed his brow and I misunderstood.

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