Follow Up From Robert Wilson

My birth mother registered me at birth under her married name and her husband is named on my birth certificate as my father. Long a prisoner of war in Germany at the time of my birth in 1943, he could not have been my father. I have always yearned to know more about my genetic father although I had what was truly a saving relationship with my adoptive father who died when I was seventeen and was much mourned.

The following poem, in all its details, records a dream that came on 12th March 2008. It is a ‘dream poem’ but I know it to be a deep reconciliation: a dream yet profoundly real.

Father and Son at the Beach
Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Finding My Father

Visitant, I watched the family talk
Grandparents, mother, cousins, an aunt:
I was not part of it, hiding my heart,
And surprised when a boy I didn’t know
With hesitant greeting, sat down beside me.
I warmed towards him before he turned, enquiring,
Thoughtful, gathering courage to whisper,
‘I know where your father lives.’
Somewhere a pebble fell, rippling a pool of water.

It might have been a hard fist in the face
But this was gentle, the message all my life
Awaited. I caught my breath,
‘Where?’ ‘Not far, shall I take you there?’
He touched my arm. Nods and smiles, we rose,
Left the farmhouse unnoticed, entered
At once the deep woods, leaving the bright sun’s
Clarifications. I followed this boy
Loving him for his warm heart, through cool glades
Where anemones hardly held up delicate heads
White petals shimmering in green shade.

The forest thickened. He threaded a little path
Twisting through undergrowth, broader
Where taller trees leafed high above, until
Suddenly he stopped, pointed
And I saw in a clearing
A few prefabricated huts just dropped,
It seemed, on the forest floor.
Drawn to peer into the darkness of a hut,
I see no furnishing, a rough floor of earth
And my father sat there by the hearth.

My father! It is my father, so long gone,
Never rightly known, who sits on the earth,
Sees me, smiles, silently gestures that I sit.
I lean over. He draws me down
His arm around my shoulders.
Face to face we gaze.
He kisses me, fully on the lips,
Seems young, a wild man of the woods,
Dark haired, virile.

Later in the farmhouse, I tell Mother
And the other relatives about this ‘Dream’,
This dream I have had of finding Dad.
In the intensity of feeling, my voice breaks.
Respectfully, silently, they listen.
I do not tell them of the kiss.

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