Song for my father

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We went up to the mountain
My father looking upwards
He squinted at the sun.
The air was thin and subtle
His hand was on my shoulder:
Above the tree line and the troubles
Is where you’re free to breathe.

We went sailing on the water
The wind was blowing strongly
The boat was standing still.
My father gripped the tiller
And his greying eyes were steel:
There’s cowardice and there is death
There’s no such thing as fear.

My father took me to the courthouse
Got lost in endless corridors
Got laughed at from the galleries
We got glared at by the judge.
My father gave his oath, but took one from another
He said: among the wigs and scoundrels
That’s how you stand your ground.

And then he took me to the station
He said wait here on the platform
And he left me for a while.
And there I waited quietly
My lines got deeper silently
A thousand trains rolled past me
But none of them were his.

I saw a child on the platform
He looked at me unfaltering
Blue crystal eyes and sunny hair.
I said I’m waiting for my father
I said he’ll be here any minute
He said you are my father now
And I am now your son.

I took him by the hand then
I think my hand was trembling
We left, but I kept looking back.
Soon I will take him to the mountain
I’m going to take him to the ocean
Don’t need to take him to the station now
Until my train rolls in.

– o –

After Leonard Cohen. Written on the 19th anniversary of my father’s death.

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