The House that Dad Built (circa1979) c Luke Prater
The House that Dad Built (circa 1979) c Luke Prater

When every home had a roof Dad hoisted –
tarpaulin on hazel limbs, canvas on Scots pine,
timber thatch, slate tile laid on stone gable-ends.

When coming home at fourteen, then nineteen,
from opposite ends of the Earth, made me hunger
for experiences only this England could offer.

When the sense of spiritual déjà vu took root:
Judea, the Plains, South Pacific, Horn of Africa.

When, thinking I’d live and die a musician –
writing prose fiction and journalese on the side –
poetry broke my windows, abducted the band,
and demanded a bloody ransom.

When a girl wooed me out of my unsteady head,
gifting me intimacy after six years
without touching another human being.

When I slid into that euphoric, garish
circus, chemical blood and electronica
pulsing through the core of me. The hypnotic,
jigging whirlygig didn’t stop till sun-up.

When my lady lay her legs on mine,
thigh-to-thigh, hip-to-hip, every
inch of skin an ineffable body embrace,
her tears on my face like soft, warm rain.

When the days were so desolate, and
nights thicker than damp black sand,
I discovered the drugs do work.

When humming and chanting cast light
into shadows folding in from the corners,
prayer-beads protective of the
elevated places I began to reach.

When I was awestruck by the size –
and warmth – of my father’s hands.

When those hands lay still and cold,
collected in a shroud of rough silk, and I folded
my simple elegy, giving it to the ground.

When I knew mine was the life needed saving,
however seemingly insurmountable: this
is not an easy fade-to-black halfway home.

© Luke Prater 2015

You can read Luke’s bio is HERE.

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