The Day My Father Died


The day my father died
I could not cry;
My mother cried,
Not I.

His face on the pillow
In the dim light
Wrote mourning to me,
Black and white.

We saw him struggle,
Stiffen, relax;
The face fell empty,
Dead as wax.

I’d read of death
But never seen.
My father’s face, I swear,
Was not serene.

Topple that lie,
However appealing:
That face was absence
Of all feeling.

My mother’s tears were my tears,
Each sob shook me:
The pain of death is living,
The dead are free.

For me my father’s death
Was mother’s sorrow;
That day was her day,
Loss was tomorrow.

from I been there, sort of: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2006), copyright Mervyn Morris 2006, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Mervyn Morris in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.