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Ok, the plug has been removed from the well in which my emotions were hiding.

This afternoon I was reading through a book of poems that my father had written some years ago. I was looking for a poem that I might want to read out at his funeral. The following poem opened the floodgates.

Don’t Say Goodbye

Don’t say goodbye when you’re leaving
Don’t say goodbye if you care.
It’s upsetting, and could cause grieving
So simple if you’re not there.

The word itself means forever
That’s so true, you can’t deny.
If you have a friend, just remember
Say ‘see ya’ and not goodbye.

Should you visit folks sometime
And realise you have a ‘close tie’
When you’re about to leave
Then don’t even think of saying goodbye.

There could be a special occasion
A ‘country music show’ gone by.
When it’s over, and you’re heading home
Be careful, and don’t say goodbye.

Just about everyone says it, that’s the way
And we know why.
Do ’em a favour and tell them
That to you it’s never goodbye.

If you might just like what I’ve written
Lastly here’s what I’ve tried to ‘say’.
Do what you like, whatever
But don’t say goodbye anyway.
– Fred Howard

That dam, it broke, and the water, it spilled…

That poem, plus a couple others, will be read out at the funeral.

What hit me the hardest was some of his poems which made it clear to me in a way that I hadn’t really realised before, that there were things he hadn’t done in his life, and which he dreamt about doing. Dreams which were never realised, and a life that he never lived.

Tears of Memory

Sitting on the verandah and goin’ easy
It’s cooler out here than inside.
Meanwhile, am listenin’ to some ‘country’
It might drown the thoughts that I hide.

It’s no surprise that they keep returning
As ‘these things’ so often will do.
All mixed up and I find myself
Yearning for all those lost years – wouldn’t you?

My mind won’t keep still and it tells me
There are places I have have to find.
Like Oodnadatta, even Sydney
Guess that I’ll keep them in mind.

Have had my share of the outback
Across horizons that stretch far and wide.
Living at the end of some lonely track
Taking it all in, and had tried.

Time passed ‘and made a mile’
With nowhere special in mind.
Any way the wind blew, for a while
As deep down, am the travelling kind.

This all happened long ago now
And today, as I write, live in town.
‘Itchy feet’ still get me anyhow
There’s days when my feelings are down.

It’s gettin’ late and my eyes are getting misty
Could be that I’m tired or uptight.
More like to be tears of memory
That simply won’t leave me tonight!
– Fred Howard

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