ONE TIME (for my father, Roy Douglas Kneale)

a poem by Ralph Ouseley Kneale, UK

ONE TIME (for my father, the poet Roy Douglas Kneale)

One time, when gazing skyward, I did see
That starry realm: the place where we would be
Once life had played its tricks, and set us free;
Your gentle hands securely holding me,

As you'd done when I came into being.
And, as our souls, liberated, fleeing,
Looked back upon the shrinking mess we'd made,
We'd laugh and watch that painful hist'ry fade,

As though the most important facts we'd known
Proved no more than briefly settled dust thrown
Up and blown asunder by the healing
Winds of time. One time, this was my feeling.

But our lives were filled with complications,
And were fraught with stressful situations,
Obscuring that simple vista from sight,
As though the onetime cloudless starry night

Was hung with grey. And there, it's sad to say,
Is where my hope for us, abandoned, lay;
Eternity washed away by reason.
Coldness cloaked our slow autumnal season.

And so the years rolled by until today,
Where you have held my hand, and flown away
To leave me with regrets and nervous doubt,
And memories that ebb then swirl about.

To know that you and I will be again
Together, devoid of the endless pain
Of life, would dry these cold internal tears,
And warm the passing of our onetime years.

This poem is for my father, the late Roy Douglas Kneale. It tells of the faith that once gave us solace, and that eventually vanished. When I was a boy, I used to talk to my father about how I longed to be spirit with him, one day. Now that I have lost him, I look back on that feeling, and wish I had the belief that I would be with him again. Despite our loss of faith, though, our relationship was never anything other than as close as could be. He was my kindred spirit; my greatest ally; my reason for living.

Thank you to everyone who has expressed their love for my father, and also written kind words to me. I want you all to know how important you were to Dad, and how proud he was to be your friend.

Warmest regards to you all!


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