A Letter to Dad


The stag returned, this time he brought his season’s companion, he looked towards where you lay (during your last days), then startled by us noticing, he turned away, vanishing behind hedgerows.

From your window’s view rabbits seemed subdued, munching under-growth. Under clear glass skies, shafts of light cut through resting upon Westfield.

“The good man is the friend of all living things”, you were tuned to nature’s beat.  We grew up around your open heart, an owl under your arm, badger nuzzled to your neck, orphaned baby rabbits who were lost and alone and taken home,  wily pheasant, wagging-tailed dogs, aloof cats, clucky chickens, foxes who prowl, a menagerie – all drawn to you.

We followed you to “where the otter whistles his mate”, through vivid children’s stories: Bert the flying postman, Puff the Magic Dragon, witches with grudges, goblins who scheme, you gave fuel to flame our imagination, down creative paths through to Butleigh woods – our childhood hide and seek.

You have gone, your presence remains as heredity traits traces onto a face “through time to times anon”.  Now at eternal rest, my heart bursts with pride, for all you are, under the gaze of a robin on the garden gate.

In loving memory of Neville Pitman, Jan 2, 1933 to Oct 17, 2016.

The good man is the friend of all living things.
Mahatma Gandhi

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)

The Way Through the Woods, Rudyard Kipling

I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
Over oblivion.

Heredity, Thomas Hardy

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