Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Father's Day - My First Blog

This is my first blog. I don't really know what I am doing, but I am finding myself doing it nonetheless.

Today I wrote a poem. I wanted to write a song, but the words of the poem were fist-fighting their way into my head and the notes instead were quiet. It came out like a healthy vomit. It exhausted me. But I feel very alive as a consequence.

I have spent a lot of time looking at my relationship with my bi-polar father in therapy over the years. He was such an alive, vibrant part of my childhood. You name it, he knew about it, could quote it, had thought about it before. He and I read Hamlet together when I was 17. We had already read Edward Thomas, T.S.Eliot, Blake. He got his Private Pilot's license and took me up in a plane. He taught me how to skid the car in the field, so I could drive safely in the rain. He bought me my first penknife. We rode our motorbikes together across Wales many times. We talked about books. He wrote me the most beautiful, deep and open letters when I was at University, all of which I still have. I always loved him intensely - even when I was afraid of him, or when he made inappropriate comments. Even though I stepped in to protect him more than a daughter should.

Now his life and self are very different. As the years go by, he has shrunk more and more inside himself, locked down, catatonic. He is quiet and his finger's twitch all the time. He stares and the hill and he drinks from 9am in the morning. He doesn't listen to music, read and finds even driving difficult. This has been a great sadness for me. He was so real, so wise, so alive. Now I protect his broken heart by not commenting on the 9am beer. I try not to over excite him. I wish I could talk to him about poetry still. Today this arrived after therapy, when I heard myself saying, with that sudden surety and truth that comes from the deep soul speaking: "I am frightened that I will explode with beauty". For so I have been. There is so much to be totally knocked down by: even glancing at the sky makes my head spin these days. The clouds are warm glaciers. I am frightened of experiencing art - of going to an exhibition, because I know that I will be taken off to another place of wonder that is, as yet, quite new to me. The written word has stirred for many years. Music has become more and more important. What if I fall in love with the paintings I see? As it is, the clouds can change my mood in a moment, as even a lowly Blackbird in my garden can inspire a song.

Anyway.. this is the poem that I wrote for my Dad. I realised he once experienced the world as I do...but he didn't survive that experience intact. I have to find a different way to survive the part of me that is so alive, so thirsty, so excited that it makes me high. I don't want to ever put that Hannah in a cage because she is eccentric and can be too much for some people. That Hannah is the most real, most alive part of me.

Father’s Day

I know
You have stood
On the bough
Of this tree;
Felt your heart burnt
By the turning of the earth.

You stood
Before me.
Shared the doorway to this world
Held my hand
As I walked through to it.
Watched as I read the poets greedily.

I now know
Felt the terror
Of your own
Intense Experience
of Beauty.

You gave
Your daughter
The key.
Before your own whirlwind
Had fully come to consume you.

Now grown,
I had come to fear I might
With Beauty.
Ashamed of my wild, loving
Crazy, eccentric heart:
That sees a sea in the barley
A mast in the oak
Hears pirates calling from the hedge.

I see
You have shut your wild love down.
Padlocked it up with Substance –
For fear of the rope hanging from the bough.

Safer to stand on the trap door
And hear your wild dog howling
Than set it loose:
To risk the noose
Tight around your neck.

And this is how it is:
I shall learn another way.
You know where I am -
You have been here:
The clouds call cathedrals,
The Spring beauty so pure
It burns.
The new thought, idea, discovery,
Like a sensual whipping.

I cannot fear that Beauty
Will explode me.
This great gift,
This inheritance
Is Who I Am.

In this tree
I see you breathing, full, buzzing with life
In that time now past
Before me.

19th June 2012


  1. dear dear hannah,you can not even imagine how much of respect for you i feel after reading this blog.you left me shaking and moved to the basis of my soul.i dare to claim that from my far distant place as another subjective person i think i understand your feelings and what you are going through.i am a son to a father whose profession was beauty and understanding beauty.he was dealing with philosophy of art.we too were listening at the age of 9-11 to classical music-bartok beethoven mozart debusy bach-you named.he was talking and telling me about art and poetry music sculpture cultures migrations of nations and cultures,just name it.i loved and feared his immensely strong and dominant personality.from this place i can feel and maybe maybe understand what you are going through.i deeply respect your abillity to withstand these intense and enourmous energies and feelings and the ability to separate somehow between the two of you.you and him are not one.the enourmous gift of what he has given you no one can take and it effects you and will continue echoing on and on and on trough you eleonor and on.experience beauty to the full,don't be afraid.this ability to live with beauty is the biggest gift he could give you-except life he gave you the meaning of life-that spark without which life is equal to death.once you are not afraid of it and chanel it it will be the only way to live.lovely lovely real hannah,you make my tears push up to my eyes.i could write on and on to you and maybe i will do.meanwhile i 'll with a quiet close to the heart hug and a kiss on your forehead.be well be happy andkeep being you this is the gift you can give to you and to anyone you really love.bye my dear friend.

  2. Dear Salvador. This comment has meant so much to me. Thank you so much for sharing it. You are a dear friend.

  3. i read and echo your words of explosion hannah!!! breathtaking moments that are so familiar xx <3 i love that we love deeply and wildly and without caution regardless of the rip roaring pain that may quite often follow... we are balloons bouncing... ever changing colours glistening .... vast and yet intricate .... i rejoice in you and in all <3 ��