Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

We want to thankyou for teaching us to dive beneath the big waves,

For taking us out on your back through the surf,

For carrying us asleep from the Holden to our beds,

For making us pull weeds, rake gum leaves, pick up bark, sweep the garage and clean the gutters.

Thankyou for showing us how to collect warm eggs from beneath chooks,

For crying at the sad moments on TV soaps,

For showing us how to swing a billy around our heads,

For teaching us to build a camp fire and to strip and paint a cupboard,

For bringing home day-old chickens – yellow and chirping to be raised under a heat lamp,

For bringing home trays of summer peaches,

For dinkying us down the driveway on the back of your motorcycle,

And for loving what you had, and not wanting for more than you attained

For this and more, we thank you.


We will miss you sweet Goong Goong.


Finally he is gone.

No more gauntness to contend with.

No more gripping claws.

The sigh is heavy, full of relief – for him and, oh yes, for myself.

I take pleasure in buying bones for the dog.

I love to watch him crunch through them. Chicken wings like twigs between his jaws.

So much life in a scruffy dog.

I have poems to look through – to find the right one – for the funeral.

I remember how he’d love the touch of a dog’s wet nose against the back of his hand

hung limply from a nursing home chair.

I hear him in my head say what a good dog.

The carer says I loved that man and it sets me weeping.