Memories of a Boy and his Dad


In Australia it is the afternoon on the last day of 2011. I awoke this morning with my being filled with memories of past New Years Eves , and the ache of emptiness that comes on what were previously special days.
 
Instead of posting a poem of my own, I have decided to share with you two poems, one written by my son Ken, and the other by my husband Rod. 
 
The first poem Thomas, was written by Ken after the death of his beloved Poppa. My father was a loving, lovable man who battled alcoholism all his adult life. My father and my son shared a very special bond, as Ken’s words achingly convey.
 
The second poem A Woman Calls, was written by my husband a week after he had stood with his hand on my shoulder, supporting me while I made the call to America to tell my son’s former partner and lifelong friend, of the suicide of our darling Ken. 
 
These poems may seem sad, and yes in some ways they are, but for me they are also a celebration of the lives of two special men who were gifted with the qualities of loving empathy, and poetic expression.
 
Thomas
 
A picture is all I have
To remind me of your life
This emotion runs so deep
Oh why can’t I follow you
 
Your wisdom and your heart
Greater than your legacy
Of the ones you left behind
Oh why can’t I follow you
 
I long for the time
When your smile meet mine
Tucked gently inside a bottle
Oh why can’t I follow you
 
I weep at the reflection
In the eyes of your wife
For since you said goodbye…
O why can’t I follow you
 
A soul so weightless
The wind took you from me
I never got to show you
Just who you were to me
 
This lid is sealed so tight
On your final kiss
Tasting death on your lips
Please wait for me
 
Kenneth Bertram
 
 
A Woman Calls
 
It is late at night
when the phone calls out
in a room so far away
As a woman sits in a sunlight room
and ponders what she’ll say
 
The receiver clicks
and she listens
to hear the gentle greeting “Hi”
She steels her resolve to speak her piece
but first she makes a sigh
 
She speaks not of betrayal
nor of a man who has run
She speaks to tell the other
of the death
of her only son
 
Two women linked by a common bond
for a man they each caressed
Now linked in common grief
feeling only despair
bereft
 
Their tears touch cheeks
fall on heaving breasts
as they share the dreadful tale
And as their grief hits home
their sobs become a wail
 
The common link is broken
as they both put down the phone
the bond remains between them
‘though each must grieve
alone
 
In separate rooms in distant lands
they weep for one another
They weep for themselves
they weep for him
His Lover and his Mother
 
Rod Bertram 1/9/1999

About triciabertram

I have written all my life. Writing helps me to make sense of a world I often don’t understand. Poetry is my supreme solace, closely followed by literature and music. When my son ended his life in 1999 I embarked on the most difficult journey of my life, my grief journey. To survive in this unknown, harsh landscape I had to write. It was for me, the only way I could even begin to move forward. Then in 2009 my darling husband died suddenly and so my journey continues. I write about other issues but because of my life experience, grief and death are continuing themes in my writing life. In our culture I believe there is a fear of death, an inability to accept the inevitability of our mortality, and this creates enormous difficulties for the bereaved and those around them. I have begun this blog in the hope I will create a small ripple in the pond of fear that is currently drowning the reality of death and grief. I will continue to skim the stones of my truth, watch them bounce, and see how many ripples I can make.

Posted on December 31, 2011, in Poems, Poetry of others and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I admire your strength and resolve. I wish you joy and happiness. I hope you find in your writing, the way you reach others and the people around you, a sense of contentment and peace.

  2. Sad, but beautifully written..

  3. Thanks Jo. All the best for 2012.

    • Thanks Tricia. You’ll be in 2012 a few hours ahead of me, but I’ll be looking forward to catching up with you. Hope it’s a good year for you, and for me, and for everyone.

  4. Thank you blondgirl for both your comments and your good wishes.

  5. Both pieces were excellently written. A gift for writing was obviously shared amongst your family. Both were sad but I was especially hit by the words of your son. May you have all the fortune and happiness you deserve in the new year.
    Joe

  6. Thank you Joe, they were two very precious human beings. May you too know happiness and good fortune in the year ahead, and may we continue to share our words.

  7. I do not really know how to express how these two poems affected me on this New Year’s day, 2012. Memories echo down the years, people saying that time is the great healer, and in some ways it is. The pain certainly changes its timbre as life keeps experiences in our path. But in the end yesterday is really today, and though there is sunshine that has dulled the sense of pain a bit, the pain and the remembrance of good and loving times is still there as immediate and powerful as life and death entangled in our lives. I am glad you posted these. It is a good way to start a new year.

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