Cape of Good Hope
For my father
Half of you is listening. Half of you sees the mountain, hard lines pushing against the sky. Half of you senses air’s faint breath, feels warmth like fingers where sunlight has sneaked beneath your hat. Your left hand acknowledges my touch.
I only half listened that day last year, as we walked through the fynbos on the slopes above Camps Bay. You spoke in the voice you used for children or for childhood, for stories of Piglet and of Pooh and how you were at school with Christopher Robin.
When the time comes, I want a Daddy to hold me by the hand.
I smiled, said nothing. We were a long way from The Hundred Acres Wood.
Spiked crests of birds of paradise ignite above their leaves. Half of you is present. Is the other half hidden, like the mountain when the south-east wind spreads a tablecloth of cloud? Or has your Daddy taken your right hand gently in His own, to lead the missing half of you past Lion’s Head into the light?
I don’t ask this, but I think this in the shadow of the mountain. Half of you listens to my silence. All of you cannot speak.
Marian Christie’s poetry has appeared in, among others, Allegro, Black Bough, Independent Variable and Pushing out the Boat. When not writing or reading poetry, Marian looks at the stars, puzzles over the laws of physics, listens to birdsong and crochets gifts for her grandchildren. She lives in Kent.