Below are three poems from Sarah Law’s new pamphlet My Converted Father, recently published by Broken Sleep Books.
I’ve had my enthusiasms, admits my converted father. Your mother was never very encouraging. I know, I say. It was fishing for a while. You had rods, lines, and tins of wriggling bait. Then radio amateurs. Visits to France. Life’s made of discovery and voyages, says my father. After you died we discovered brand new shoes in your dark green case; a twenty-pound note tucked into its pocket. I was readier to go than I knew, he muses. I hope you spent it well? A bottle of Jameson’s, for after the funeral. A gift to you, then; keep the thought, the change.
Towards the end, we sorted through your books, in the quiet of the bedroom with its pool-blue walls. I touched the spine of each; you considered your bequest. Yes, I remember, says my father. I asked you to send the qi gong ones to Frances. She didn’t need converting. You shared the root of a name, I observe. The middle way, he answers. If you had been a boy, I would have called you Patrick. Old-school, Celtic, ready to bless. As it was, I had your mother’s name, I say. A princess, a gypsy, a wife: she never knew me, but perhaps she wondered.
When you were in the hospice, I had the strangest dream: you had a son we never knew about, and he had come to see you - a short man in his forties with a sparse black beard. I know nothing about it, says my father. I was sleeping at the time. Yes, I say. These liminal states are difficult to map. We guide ourselves like bats; unseeing, flit-prone, reversed. You know, on your last day I woke at dawn, with a lilt in my mind. It was time to go home, says my converted father; over the seas to Skye.