Our David 1971-1992

our david 1 001

June 29th. He’d have been 45 today, and I go on writing poems for him. I’m taken aback, every time. I think there’s nothing left to be said. But there is. There always will be. Happy birthday, lovely boy.

It was a morning like this


a Sunday morning. The sun shone.

It was July. It was a morning like this,

your first wife at the back door,

and why would she tell you

your son was dead, or had died,

or had been in an accident

on a morning like this still

not fully woken, a morning of sun

to drive into Chapeltown to drive

to a police station that’s called

The Old Police Station now,  that’s

a bijou gastropub but then was just

a police station full of Sunday morning

sadness, and a morning something

like this and two young coppers

who thought we’d need somewhere

quiet at the back which turned out

to smell of smoke, that had a pool table

and coffee rings, and no-one knew

how to start or what to ask but

it was a morning much like this

they asked if we knew a tower block

behind the Merrion Centre or if

we had a connection to a tower block

and a ring with a skull and a brown

leather case and did we know if

our son had friends in a tower block

behind the Merrion Centre and

we might as well have been asked

about tree rings or chaos theory

or fractals on a July morning and

one young copper saying that

he didn’t think it made sense

for cannabis to be illegal and

what harm did it do really and

how it wasted everybody’s time

and I don’t know why I’d remember

that except it was a morning like this

we learned what waste might mean.


22 thoughts on “Our David 1971-1992

  1. Oh my goodness, what a brave ,heart-breaking and truly wonderful poem, the details are so telling. “A pool table/ and coffee rings”..

    Very best wishes. May your lovely son rest in peace.


  2. Big Warm Hug John. Your poem is very touching.
    Once in a friendly conversation somebody said I´m wasting my time, because I said: I´m not and I never smoked. Actually I saw that evening was wasted for ever. .
    love Gyula


  3. What a wrenchingly lovely poem, John. I’m not surprised there are always more poems to write. How could there not be with such a loss. Xxx


  4. HI John,

    Just arrived in UK – which has the atmosphere vaguely of a South American country in pre-revolution mode except much wetter. Greatly moved by your poem. I’m passing a copy onto one o our Stanza members who lost a daughter of around the same age – in her case victim of a violent partner. Like you, she cannot stop writing about it – and why should she or you. Alice Thomas Ellis wrote eloquently on the subject as well.




    1. There’s a comparison I won’t wear lightly, Chris. I’m glad you think it’s poem that can reach out. In the meantime, welcome to 1930s England. But without a politicised working class.


    1. Thank you, Liz. I was thinking of you, too, as it happens. Checking out poets to revisit on the cobweb. You’ve not been forgotten. Hope you’ve got new stuff for me xxxxxx


  5. John, you probably don’t remember me, I am Julie and stevies friend from stoke. Your words moved me greatly and all I can say is I am often caught out how raw the pain can be when it catches you unaware. Keep writing and celebrate the gift of his life, as short as it was. GARY


    1. Thank you so much, Yvie. It’s a thing I think of a lot, the business of poetry as atonement. It’s complicated not having a religious belief. I sometimes wonder if I do xxxx


  6. Wow! This is beautiful and encapsulates the shock of grief so well. It is deeply moving. I am so very sorry for your loss X


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