The Day After by Paul Nicholas Mason

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.

Paul’s daughter Nina and Opa
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

Paul’s daughter Rachael and Opa

5 Comments Add yours

  1. What a beautiful and moving poem. Thank you, Paul.

    1. Paul Nicholas Mason says:

      Thank you, Cynthia. Michael was a good man — and he thought very well of you and your husband, m’dear. We miss him terribly.

      1. I know you must all miss him a lot. We miss him too, and we’re not family.

  2. felicity936 says:

    A beautiful poem and tribute to your father, Paul. Thanks for sharing

  3. Paul Nicholas Mason says:

    Thank you, Felicity. It’s a lovely thing to have the approval of a true poet.

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