Tuesday Poem – The First Farewell

Pokhara 1978
After twenty-eight years he’s here
buying me long blacks
and telling stories from before my time.

One day I’ll document pre-history
let him explain the now through the then
take his word for it and keep it close.

But today I only listen. I’ll say it’s only words.
Until one story ends with tears in our eyes
and I realise I’ve been wrong.

There’s more, of course: the dusty unmarked road
of my family’s village, the crowded bus
the blonde woman in jandals and cheap cotton clothes.

The man who will become my grandfather
in his favourite hat, takes calculated steps
as his son leaves his love to travel on.

He walks his son home with a comforting arm
the story ends in tears, but this is just the first
in a lifetime of constant goodbyes.


This poem deserves a bit more editing, but I haven’t posted a Tuesday Poem in ages! It’s all true of course: My dad was recently in NZ for the first time in years and told me a very sweet story about when my mum left Nepal to continue her travels after they first met. Many more meetings and partings ensued. I hope to hear more about these encounters one day too.

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8 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem – The First Farewell

  1. Great, well done! have commented on it. I am ready to tell you more if you have a time, I am not a story teller but have lot to share if you dare!

  2. I was in Pokhara in January 1979 as a young backpacker and my friend and I went across Lake Phewa (think I’ve spelt that right) away from the village and rented one floor of a mud house from a family who lived there. We had a wonderful time with this family and their water buffalo and its calf. A dugout canoe came as part of the package and we’d paddle out and wash in the cold lake in the warm winter sun. People would paddle by and wish us “Namaste”. One night we paddled over to the village in the dark and got ourselves spotlighted by King Bihendra’s soldiers and nearly fired upon. They must have thought we were Ninja assassins rather than young hippies who’d strayed into the wrong “water-space”. I have very lovely memories of Pokhara.

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