Paul Nicholas Mason is a novelist, playwright, and, since he retired from teaching in 2015, a voice-, television- and film-actor. Paul’s latest novel, The Rogue Wave, was published in 2021.
The day after we buried my dear father I took my little granddaughter, three and filled with life, Precious life, To the park near my home She climbed on the monkey bars, slid on the slides And all the while she smiled at me Absorbed – yes – in her play But checking, regularly, to see that I was there Watching over her The way my father watched over me. She is tall now, Gillian, three, And my father was tall before the years took their toll But while her own long limbs, and long dark hair, in no way Recall my father Her smile, her eyes, her sweet voice – “Help me, Grandpa!” – Conjure for me the man I loved And always will. Look, I don’t know, finally, what becomes of those who die I live in hope, I pray, I say the words that faith teaches me to say And mostly, mostly, I believe them But in this instant, this blessèd moment As Gillian’s arms wrap themselves around my neck And she hugs me to her It is almost – almost – enough to know That in this way, too, Love triumphs over death. What do we do when we are broken? We create art – a picture, a song, a collection of words Like these you are reading now But mostly, mostly, we cling to those we love Supporting them as they support us Finding in our very frailty The strength of the Everlasting Arms