Just a single word prompt at Big Tent Poetry this week: enough.
I did a free write and seemingly got nowhere, then as I was going to bed that night this memory popped into my head - someone I knew at university long ago telling me about the coat he wore - his father's. The details are my own embellishments.
“It was my father’s coat” says Aldis
and while he tells the story, I see
a figure trekking eastwards across Europe
ahead of the Russian armies. His scuffed boots,
nine days’ growth on his chin, his thick wool coat
almost to the ground, dark against the snow.
It carries all that he has, but it is enough.
It is his safe, his valuables sewn into the lining.
It is his tent, his transport,
his camouflage in dark alleys,
it is his cupboard with its capacious pockets.
It is his blanket and his pillow on his long journey
by foot and by ship to a new land far to the south
to a city where snow is only on distant mountains
and on ti kouka, summer’s blossoming cabbage trees.
Aldis explains his father’s coat and I see his father
and his father’s father before him, looking out through his eyes,
I see the coat that swirls round his ankles
and keeps out the chill Wellington wind,
almost too well, it is so thick.
It is his family album, his education,
his history lesson, his father’s arms about his shoulders,
it is all he has left of his father
and it is enough.
More poems on the subject of "enough" here