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David Adès: These Are the Men

One son, and then two brothers,

a third, a fourth and a half-brother,

two sisters as glue amongst them

and migrations, departures, arrivals

beginning in a new world

and the calling forth of children

to carry forward the being,

the telling, the name.


The calling forth of children

and among them two sons

born in Egypt

and a third born in Australia

and from the two sons

three daughters

and one son, golden, kind,

gentle, funny, the halo

around his head

not enough to protect him.


The world is full of absences

into which we pour

the endless torrent of our grief,

not assuaged in the pouring

without the life rafts of kin,

friendships, loves:

all those who let us cling.


In the raw wound of his absence

I turned to two men,

one a gardener, one a geologist become teacher,

one from Australia, one from Wales,

and later, a third man, a fitter and turner

from a Greek Island,

a fourth, an Australian teacher

and a fifth, a German migrant,

public servant,

and knowing not how to do it

we built a space, where we opened

the lush gardens of our hearts

and walked each other through.


And I, the third son,

the one born in Australia, childless then,

single, adrift,

conscious of the weight of expectation,

the long shadow of history,

the passing of all things.


Five brothers including the half-brother

and then four, three, two

and then the last of them, my father

and he and I and my two cousins

meeting for coffee,

speaking of this,

the many become the few

and after that, my father,

gone the way of his brothers.


Into the lush gardens of their hearts

they took me,

gardens of unexpected flowerings

amid bracken and tangles of vines,

gardens where the soil has been laid bare

and seeds planted,

where I am welcome to roam and return.


And then, years later, two daughters

and another child, my son, to carry forward

the being, the telling, the name,

or none of these

but simply to be himself,

his own light shining into the future.

Copyright 2021 David Adès 

David Adès is the author of Mapping the World (Friendly Street Poets / Wakefield Press, 2008). He lives in Australia.

One comment on “David Adès: These Are the Men

  1. Barbara Huntington
    July 8, 2021

    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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