Family History
My father could do everything,
Cut furrows, cut hair, cut turf, cut tobacco.
His step was lithest in a farmhouse reel.
He got his heart attack
Reaching out over the sycamore arch
That framed our front gate,
Clipping it into shape.

His energy was never the same after that,
He had his peripheral circulation difficulties too.
I never forgave myself
For my involvement in its diagnosis, referral,
And in its resolution.
But, there was only one answer
In those days.

When he took to bed
He waited patiently,
Ever patiently, anticipating.
I thought of him each year at clipping time,
And passed hedge trimming tests since then,
But maybe now and only now I know,
And could not have known
What we know now,
And understand what he knew then.