The story behind the poem
father had a tremendous feeling for children, maybe because he was so
childlike himself in many ways. Sometimes, when he was happy, he would
skip - literally skip - and he was the best storyteller I have ever
known. When I was a small child he could get me to sit absolutely
still while he was cutting my toe-nails or finger-nails. Of course I knew
the loud bump was him stamping his foot, but I held my breath to
listen all the same.
All those things I've
mentioned we went to look for in appropriate seasons, and I can see
him now with the wooden-framed shrimping-net slung over his shoulder,
brushing through the marram grass of the Norfolk coast on his way down
to the sea.
When he died, which he
did from cancer at the age of 63, I was absolutely bereft. We had had
our differences - who doesn't - but he embodied my childhood
and gave me my roots.
by Damaris West
Read the poem
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