Father’s Day

I spent the day building the girls a tree house
With a neighbour who is much more that way minded
Using wood and skills he’d mostly got from work
I helped him where I could but mostly watched
Mixing my tools with his as needed
While keeping half an eye on the children

And I thought of how it was when we were children
Growing up in a not quite big enough house
With no space whenever space was needed
Because no matter how quiet we were dad minded
And we always felt that we were being watched
Whether or not he was home from work

We didn’t seem to matter as much as work
At least not when we were only children
Except on Sundays, when we ate crumpets and watched
Cowboy films on the only telly in the house
And if we spilt crumbs then he never minded
As he caught up on the sleep he badly needed

Sleep was not the only thing he needed
This man who reeked of oil and smoke from work
I bet your dad never snored like mine did
Or played his records so loud his children
Couldn’t sleep. His bass chords reverberated round the house
And still we knew that we were being watched

But if you know that you are being watched
Then the development of certain skills is needed
That allow you to move silently round the house
Living like that is obviously quite hard work
But being sneaky comes quite naturally to children
Even those by nature quite high minded

But I am my father’s son and like him minded
To have my daughters know they’re being watched
It’s love, but bad: after all they’re only children
So, realising more space is badly needed
While they’re still small and I’m wrapped up in work
I have, with help, built for them a tree house

I’m minded now of more that might be needed
I’ve watched myself at home, stressed out from work
It’s not fair to force my children from the house

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