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What my daughter wrote


Hand drawing a line drawing of father and daughter














Father's Day (or a little after)

For Lucy

She said I was fifty-two and weighed sixty-eight kilograms
And stood one-and-a-half metres tall, and some of that is right.
She said my hair was brown and that my brown beard
Prickled her when I kissed her, which she said was often.

She said I was good at writing and drawing and soccer
And not so good at cooking. All true. He likes to ride horses,
She said (though she never saw me). He draws me birds. She said
If I were a superhero, I'd be Superman, and she didn't say why.

She said she loved me because I hugged her all the time (but who
Could not?). And because I was funny. She emphasised that. Then,
Smaller: 'He is busy a lot!' But he reads to me and he listens
To me when I read. He loves Mr Todd, and I love Timmy Tiptoes.

But she was sick when Father's Day came, and she forgot
To give me the sheets where she wrote all this in class.
She gave them to me today and didn't want to talk about it
When I got out of the car to catch the train again. He buys me

Toys from Sydney, she had written — as if toys were spices and
Sydney were Tashkent. Later, when she called to say goodbye
Properly, she still couldn't speak. And oh, there is no pain
So pretty as how well a young girl likes to miss her dad.

No heart so easily wronged — or righted again — as hers.
Nor any heart so far gone for good quite so often as his.


Soft bombs

From under the shower I look
Up at jacaranda blossoms, suicide
Bombers in party dresses, fallen over-
Night on the skylight in the rain.

And I think of you, the tender hope-
Ful violence of the sacrifice involved
In loving me, each kiss a pretty body
Part, a broken fall from grace. 



Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
–Jack Gilbert, 'Failing and Flying'

Like some nocturnal Icarus, I dream too close to heaven — 
I fly too close to morning — and I wake in pieces. And so
I woke this Wednesday, a child disarmed in sleep and felled
By the gravity of the ancient light he dawns in. But I rose
A trick Icarus mastered just once, but oh how mastered it — and
I walked straight out into everything, feeling too poor
For the wealth of my days, and wondering what became
Of the currents that buoyed me yesterday.
                                                       Driving to work,
Regretting the towers that grow now where horses
Used to run, I passed on the road, a fallen bird. The bird was
Newly dead, an Indian Mynah, pariah of the suburbs, stuck for good now
In the slow lane. A circle of his kind stood a brown mourning around him.
Making sure; ministering his passage. One moved forward to check
His pockets; the others, though, held back,
                                  piecing together a memory of how he flew.

Mark Tredinnick headshotMark Tredinnick is a winner of the Montreal Poetry Prize, and the author of The Blue Plateau, Fire Diary, and nine other acclaimed works of poetry and prose. He lives in the NSW Southern Highlands.

Dad and daughter image from Shutterstock

Topic tags: Mark Tredinnick, poetry



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Existing comments

I like Mark Tredinnick's original use of words in an unorthodox way: very impressive.

LynneZ | 26 November 2013  


Annabel | 26 November 2013  

Sooooo very moving

Stephanie T | 26 November 2013  

Thank you so much for sharing these, Mark. I love your work. Blessings to you and your family.

Lydia | 26 November 2013  

"Nor any heart so far gone for good quite so often as his." So lovely Mark and as Dad with a daughter, so true.

Steve | 27 November 2013  

Beautiful and inspiring, thank you Mark.

cecile yazbek | 29 November 2013  

Loved the spices, Tashkent lines. And who would have thought the dreaded Indian Mynah capable of arousing such fine thoughts.

Bill Wootton | 29 November 2013  

You are lucky man

Yusuf | 03 February 2014  

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