my step father

I have a wonderful father whose name is not Dad
I didn't meet him until my late teenage years
when he met, then dated and finally married my mother
joining two different families to become almost one.

I gained a new little brother, a big brother too
and a new sister making quite a crowd in the new house
I was stonked by all this, it was really such good news
seeing love at home, their home for I had left already.

But coming home on weekends and holidays still
and getting to know this man who had won mum's heart
over late night chats with the others gone to bed
I found unexpected friendship in the midst of change.

Years have passed since those long late night chats
and yet we ocassionally still indulge when we can
you tell me of dreams that you've never fulfilled
and how empty old age is with all its aches and pains.

And the feeling that everyone has no time for you now
to just sit and look out at the garden drinking tea
and the sad truth is that I don't have much time
to fill the empty hours you are faced with each day.

But I will make more effort to be here more often
taking time to spend with you has never been a burden
perhaps I haven't made my feelings plain enough to see
but you are much more than just a step father to me.

Who was it taught me to mend old ripped oil paintings
to use plaster and gold leaf on sculptured gilt frames
to build a wall with studwork and beams, to lay carpet
to hang signs, to re-upholster a sagging old chair.

Who was it who sat for hours on the river bank with me
talking through how to create water flow onto canvas
who taught me to write poetry, who was that then
did you think that I would or that I could ever forget.

You taught me to look at paintings with my heart
to use feelings in a new way to gain an understanding
that what rages in others hearts can be expressed there
in short strokes, in vibrant colour, in dark rolling skies.

Trips to galleries that's what we must find time to do
for sitting here in your old arm chair isn't much fun
I don't mind walking slow, I can help with the stairs
I'm sure you have much to teach me from the old masters.

Yes I know about the need to plan carefully for trips out
ensuring level ground, close parking, trips to the loo
a nearby pub with decent real ale, a secret to be kept
shall we set off then, are you ready to have an adventure.

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