FOR MY DAUGHTER ON HER BIRTHDAY
Today would have been a carnival
But you know this; I see your lovely face
Smiling in your frame upon the wall.
Today would be your birthday;
The half century you stringently opposed;
“I never want to be an old woman”.
And I would laugh at your words.
Yet you got your wish. But it wasn’t mine.
I wanted to sit with you today; a father
With his daughter, fifty, yet looking thirty;
I wanted to pour a glass for us all,
To raise a toast, to laugh, to celebrate.
Now the only option is observance;
Commemoration, held-back tears
In honour of a bright but vanished life.
But then I am reminded by the memory
Of your unbridled joy.
That same elation even in your final hours;
How you smiled from your pillow, asking
“Why are you looking so sad, Dad?”
And those terminal smiles have seen us through
The grief of parting, the emptiness,
For in this void I still know what you might want;
For you, Sarah, yes. Never an old woman,
Always the bright-eyed girl;
So for you, dear daughter, yes, yes, yes;
We shall make this a festive day,
Light candles, smile through tears;
We shall drink and eat and your memory
As ever, will light the room.