The Father I Never Knew

He died on this date in 1948, just 16 days before I was born, so I never met the man my mother always called ‘Daddy Ken’. She described him as a kind and wonderful man who never had a bad word for anyone. He spent his adult life as a car mechanic and marine engineer. It’s probable his war service as Chief Petty Officer aboard one of the E-boats searching for enemy submarines around Britain’s coasts from 1939-1945 caused the duodenal ulcers that burst and cost him his life.

I place this poem I was invited to contribute to an anthology of epitaphs some years ago, in memory of a man I never got to know but who nevertheless made a lasting impact on my life.

To The Father I Never Knew

You left before I landed

Knowing I might too quickly

Find you where you’d gone

A proud and humble man

My mother called you

Loving kind with clever hands

What wonders we would share

If only death had spared

You long enough to know

The man you made me

19 thoughts on “The Father I Never Knew

    1. Thanks, Lynette. I believe he was a victim of the war, and my mother, when pregnant with me, found him lying in a pool of his own blood on the bathroom floor. He was rushed to hospital but died of peritonitis.

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