Subscriber OnlyBooks

Poem of the Week: Dandy

A new work by Cherry Smyth

It’s a funny thing to start looking
like your father who’s been dead two years.
It began when he was dying, imperceptibly,
and I wanted to wear his silk cravat
and suede jerkin. I donned a cheap trilby
from Camden and was called ‘sir’ on the tube.
I carried his ‘sir’ with a pride that wasn’t gendered
– it was gentlemanly and made men and women
kinder to me. I walked in my own parade,
hearing his clipped greeting, ‘How do?’
I walked for every daring dandy, thinking
of when Dad taught me how to tie
my school tie and slip the knot
so I could keep it forever. Dear Dads,
you’ve slipped the knot but I hold the silk,
gauging its quality between my fingers, knowing
the measure of goodness and how to wear it.

Cherry Smyth is an Irish poet based in London. Her latest poetry collection Famished was published by Pindrop Press in 2019. She teaches poetry in the University of Greenwich