Everything In Its Place

 
 
 
  
 My father was a talented man. 
 He drew, painted, pressed clay, carved stone 
 into naked feminine shapes with big bums and 
 tiny waists. He was practical, too. 
 When my family moved to Devon, he mastered 
 the art of plant husbandry, and grew 
 much of our food.
 He pulled nails from reclaimed wood,  
 saved metal scraps and screws, used them  
 to build, to make tools.
 When I was eight, I helped him 
 create a two-room caravan from waste.  
 This space became a base 
 for his creations. Wood, chisel and clay 
 lived at the front end with his workbench.
 Hammers, drills and related accoutrements 
 were neatly arranged on shelves. 
 Beyond lay his photographic studio, complete 
 with convenient divan and blankets. 
 Everything had its place -- cameras, hammers 
 and home-made pottery wheel of his design, powered  
 by peddling a recycled bicycle -- all
 neatly in reach.
 
 When one of his scented women came -- her waist 
 not that thin, her bum
 not that big, and her painted face never 
 as pretty as in his imagery -- we knew 
 The Artist Was At Work 
 and we must turn away. 

 When they left, some 
 made a quick getaway, while others 
 played innocent, dripping 
 into the kitchen for a quick visit. 
 My mother was friendly, polite, never 
 accused, never raged or complained, 
 ostensibly dismissing his sickening betrayals,
 gently raising them on the pedestal 
 of art. No-one could have seen her pain, or known 
 she was afraid.
 
 Yes, my father was a  
 gifted man. Every possession  
 was kept in its place. As 
 an innocent child, I worshiped him.
 Then my breasts grew, and I began to understand  
 the depth of his despot views:  
 e-v-e-r-y woman's place was
 pressed
 in the palm  
 of his 
 grasping 
 hand.  
 
 
 ©Jane Paterson Basil 

 Written for Word Of The Day Challenge: Practical

15 thoughts on “Everything In Its Place

        1. Me too. If I revisit a post from years back, the chances are that I’ll find a ‘fault’ or ‘weakness’ and change it, only to decide afterwards that it’s NOT an improvement after all.

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  1. wow I always kind of knew that from some comments you have made over the years I have known you but putting it in a poem makes it so real and must be a healing tool for you too…….xox

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  2. A detail or two about the caravan was wrong. You built a new one for Neil and I to sleep in, and joined our old one onto another one, to make the extended workshop. As when you and Dad renovated the cottage, years later, you were a team that knew what you were doing. Difficult for me to get involved.
    The rest of it, well as I said to you earlier today, ironically, on a different subject: of course, I see it all now.

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    1. Dad had a talent for manipulating people. As a photographer, this gave him a huge advantage. With a few words he could rearrange his subjects facial expression and relax her body. He could get her to do pretty much what he wanted here to do – within reason, in my case. We worked well together because he used his talent in an appropriate way when we were building and renovating. I’ll always be grateful to him for that. Despite what followed I have never looked at another man and wished he was my father, He took a lot away from me, but he gave me a lot, too. However, I

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