A Kite for Michael and Christopher
All through that Sunday afternoon
A kite flew above Sunday,
a tightened drumhead, an armful of blow chaff.
I’d seen it grey and slippy in the making,
I’d tapped it when it dried out white and stiff,
I’d tied the bows of the newspaper
along its six-foot tail.
But now it was far up like a small black lark
and now it dragged as if the bellied string
were a wet rope hauled upon
to life a shoal.
My friend says that the human soul
is about the weight of a snipe
yet the soul at anchor there,
the string that sags and ascends,
weigh like a furrow assumed into the heavens.
Before the kite plunges down into the wood
and this line goes useless
take in your two hands, boys, and feel
the strumming, rooted, long-tailed pull of grief.
You were born fit for it.
Stand here in front of me
and take the strain.
Reading Thom’s Hickeys fine post on Father’s Day at The Immortal Jukebox gave me the idea for this selection of songs. The idea of using a Heaney poem to introduce it also came from that piece.
As Thom points out there, the relationship between a child and its parents is one of the most significant in our lives. In consequence it is, perhaps, unsurprising that many of these songs are of a very high quality, indeed. By the way, my favourite is the last one…
Although the majority of the ten songs I have chosen here look at the relationship from the child’s perspective, the first three look at it from the other direction.
1. Jackie Leven, ‘Single Father’:
2. Sean Keane, ‘Kilkelly Ireland”:
3. Loudon Wainwright, ‘The Day That We Die’:
4. Merle Haggard, ‘I Still Can’t Say Goodbye”:
5. Paul Westerberg, ‘My Dad”:
6. Rosanne Cash, ‘Black Cadillac’:
7. Lucy Kaplansky, ‘Today’s The Day”:
8. Jimmie Rodgers, ‘Daddy and Home”:
9. Rodney Crowell, ‘The Rock of My Soul”:
10. Guy Clark, ‘Randall Knife”: