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Vince Laws recalls one fine Father's Day / 21 June 2010

photo of dog with poet Vince Laws

Badger and Vince. Photo © Manel Ortega

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I was living in Brighton, when Father’s Day came around, and in my house I’m the Daddy! Neither my boyfriend nor my dog sent me a card or said a word all day, so I went for a walk in a huff. Badger was just a 3-month-old pup then, and this is what happened…

My Father’s Day Gift I took the dog for a walk feeling a touch sorry for myself,
Father’s Day sun was touching the Downs
and no one had said a word that much mattered.

But then Badger saw rabbits today, for the very first time -
he knows the burrows they bore
the warmed hollows where they sit,
he’s chased their scent, and he’s tasted their shit -
oh yes, Badger saw rabbits today, and they didn’t scare him a bit!

He flew for one, dead ahead, along the mown alley -
and like skittles from bowls they scattered.
A beaded curtain of bunnies parted to left and to right
before he finally fell from flight and grabbed at empty ankles
where nettles thistles and brambles now hid their harey inhabits.
Breathless he lay - gasping - in the last of the light of the day.

And as Nature’s theatre took its curtain call
across the valley where Whitehawk Estate
lies like a lake of earthy hues,
I looked, certain of no more than views,
to be treated to a comic encore, as Foxy-Loxy sticks his ‘ead up
not twenty yards or more.

And I look at this fox, and I think to myself
“You are a handsome fox,
my god mate, you are a *fuck-off fox!”
And this fox turns to me, with a look that says it all
“I am!”

Later as we recall to the near-nuff same spot,
three middle-aged shoppers are wandering home
and delight in Badger’s play.
It’s all I can do to stop myself saying,
“For the very first time - Badger saw rabbits today!”

Across the road to the home run
I’m already elated when a sunset’s created
and I’m elevated ever more.
A sunset that doesn’t even begin
to dim against a compost heap and an upturned chair.
A sunset that can safely sink
behind the chain link fence that keeps its public at bay.
A sunset that won’t be outdone yet - then grudgingly gives way -
because for the first time, the very first time
Badger saw rabbits - my god mate,
what a *fuck-off Father’s Day!