Happy Birthday Tatus

(view image on flickr)

Visiting Tatus

When first told I was to see our dad
My young mind imagined bandaged heroes laid in dormitories
Not a sea of rock flotsam,
The invasion of walking across them
Stepping in and about and around them,

in an all-but twitching void. Flapping of flower wrappings
Each stone either a glib shrine or overgrown neglect
A geometrically organised overbite that was once moving flesh.
Back then I thought 38 was old.
We arrive at our stone, his sister and nephew on one side, gone just as fast
Three souls fled prematurely that month, joined hand in hand
Their plaque emblazoned ‘ We loved you
…Jesus must have loved you more’.
We gaze at the painted words during that momentary strangeness of arrival.

The chime of ice-cream van melodies
Juxtaposed with the smell of trowelled earth
Fixes my association with the sound forever.
We shriek as we unearth a worm
A huddled ceremony of women who chatter whilst weeding
And then manage a sober silence to mutter words of prayer.

Years later, a new family member
Four-legged, lays himself over the patch instinctively.
His sudden upside-down frolic
Makes this place, 19 years later, a different world from those sad photos
With young faces shellshocked
Taken when the hole was freshly dug.

We pick up our rubbish and decamp, this time back to my car.
I have few memories of my own
But for now I’ll go on borrowed memories, and photographs
Until I meet them again.

For Leszek Dybisz 1952-1990

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Posted in Essays, musings on May 14th, 2009 | 11 Comments |

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Comments for “Happy Birthday Tatus”

    1. Bruce cohen
      5:11 pm on May 14th, 2009

      I wish his family and friends my warmest and hope that his memory lives on through the generations. Your poetry moved me.

    2. Arty Fucking Smokes
      9:22 pm on May 14th, 2009

      Not a bad poem at all. A fitting tribute.

    3. jestem
      9:39 pm on May 14th, 2009

      Absolutely wonderful! All the way around. If I may my glass:


      I hope you will pardon the Russian pronunciation, but for this toast it sounds prettier. :)

    4. Fallen Light
      1:29 pm on May 15th, 2009

      Thanks for sharing your special poem. It’s amazing.

    5. Gil Grachison
      5:47 pm on May 15th, 2009

      The poem asserts a tender melancholy Miss Aniela … and, not unlike your photography, a ‘detached’— but simultaneously conjoined —heart and mind: the emotional and the rational locking horns over which way to go … a slight but nice frisson! It was good of you to share those personal sentiments.

      I’m wondering if that’s a large cep (Bolete edulis) your father’s holding in his left hand. We have a large stretch of forest, Bonnington Linn in South Lanarkshire, and they come from all over to study the edible (and not-so-edible) fungi … and the cracker in the photograph has pissed me off bigstyle … because it’s bigger than the biggest I’ve found!

    6. Christine (Artemis Clover Photo)
      9:01 pm on May 15th, 2009

      love the first pic! you are gorgeous!

    7. Brady
      10:15 pm on May 16th, 2009

      I love that picture of your dad, I found your poem very moving, and the photo is such a lovely tribute. I am pretty emotional now. I am sure he would be so proud of you X

    8. Brittany
      6:18 am on May 18th, 2009

      Great poem Natalie. Very evocative… thanks for sharing something so personal…Lovely tribute x

    9. bronwen
      12:45 pm on May 19th, 2009

      a wonderful tribute to your dad, natalie. as brady has said, i’m sure he’d be proud of you. love the playful, childlike feel to this image xx

    10. Lena
      3:01 pm on May 24th, 2009

      Beautiful Miss Aniela! The tribute and your photography!
      I miss my Dad too.

    11. rahmatshaheen
      5:24 am on June 28th, 2010

      I like your links ….you are non-conformist……..your pictures Unanswerable…………love u dear

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