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Two poems for my father

March 23, 2019


March 23rd

no-one else remembers
this was his birthday

I know he’s dust in the earth
a spark in a web of neurons

but I woke today with a shock
he has forgotten me

JAA Lapwing Feb 45 small

Incident in the Barents Sea

he never told me
but I learned the story
from his oldest friend

my father was twenty-three
and I four months in the womb
when his ship exploded

the life-raft was full
but someone sat on his fingers
hooked over the edge

sixty-one sailors were picked up
and given other men’s clothes

thawing such agony
they wished they had drowned


HMS Lapwing, escorting Russian Convoy JW65, was sunk by a U-boat
on 20th March 1945 with the loss of 168 lives.

PS. My good friend Bill has chided me for not “owning” my poems. And thanks, Bill, for spotting the weak line.

In future I’ll try to remember to sign these posts!

Ama Bolton

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2019 3:06 pm

    So powerful and moving a reflection, Ama

  2. Beau Beausoleil permalink
    March 23, 2019 3:26 pm

    Dear Ama, These two poems ache with memory and beauty. The March 23rd poem, for me, is so quiet and powerful that it entered my body immediately, and the last line fixed it there like a pole star in my unconsciousness, forever.

  3. March 23, 2019 11:07 pm

    Many thanks to you both, and to others who e-mailed their comments.

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