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Gestures of Love – Fatherhood Poems

It is so hard to explain fatherhood and the many emotions it entails, but Andrew Lansdown, from Perth, has done a cracking job. His new book of poems called ‘Gestures of Love – the Fatherhood Poems’ is full of moments and emotions experienced by fathers the world over.

Les Murray, arguably Australia’s greatest living poet, writes:

“Many of Andrew Lansdown’s poems have to power to bless, to unsettle now with mysterious calm, now with the deep resonance of poetry. Of all Australian imagists, he is the one with the broadest and warmest human sympathy, and no one writes of family love with more tenderness than he.”

The media release provided by the publisher, Even Before Publishing, gives an accurate description of this collection of fatherhood poems.

Few poets have explored the weight and wonder of fatherhood like Andrew Lansdown. Over the years he has established a high reputation for his subtle, insightful poems about his wife and children.

Acclaimed poet and critic Geoff Page has observed that ‘Lansdown has a very sincere and direct way of handling poems about his immediate family which subtly suggests great tenderness without becoming sentimental.’

Now, for the first time, Andrew’s widely-published, award-winning poems celebrating family life are gathered in one collection, Gestures of Love. These fatherhood poems are bound to delight and move all readers-not only parents, but also any interested in the joy, grief and quirkiness of the human condition.

Allow me to share some of Andrew’s 118 poems, from this particular volume, with you. May you enjoy them as much as we have! Happy reading!

First Child

So, the doctor has confirmed
what we had scarce presumed:
the force and fuse of our love
has exploded into life.

I can see it in your face,
the joy, as you proudly pace
from the consultation room,
I too am glad, though a gloom

has gathered round about me.
Now there is no doubt, who can share
the desolation and despair
of this immense responsibility?

Having asked, strangely I am relieved:
just as I was born in God’s Mind
aeons before I was conceived
so also our child, whom He will refine.

from Gestures of Love – The Fatherhood Poems

© Andrew Lansdown 2013
www.andrewlansdown.com
Used with permission

In First Child Andrew has captured both the joy and the fear that men experience as they anticipate the birth of their first child in his wonderful whimsical way.

Rhyme

I sing a rhyme for my daughter
of a teapot short and stout.
She mimes a clumsy kettle,
crooks a handle, points a spout.

The world is wide with danger,
my life is dark with doubt,
but a child commands me sweetly,
‘Come on, daddy, dance and shout!’

Sometimes I sense my children
have turned my life about.
They top me up with gladness,
tip me over, pour me out.

from Gestures of Love – The Fatherhood Poems

© Andrew Lansdown 2013
www.andrewlansdown.com
Used with permission

The above poem is a beautiful metaphor the children’s song that you may know. Hence the title ‘Rhyme’.

I’m a little teapot, short and stout.
Here is my handle, here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout,
‘Tip me over, pour me out’.

We all know that our children turn our lives upside down. To a certain extent we have to allow this. The challenge is to look past the annoyance of our children’s demands and embrace the state of poured-out-ness with gladness.

Aftermath

If he were home
we would hardly

know what to say
to each other,

my son and I-
my eldest son.

So why this deep
pang in my heart?

from Gestures of Love – The Fatherhood Poems

© Andrew Lansdown 2013
www.andrewlansdown.com
Used with permission

Aftermath is an eloquent look at a father’s difficulty in expressing himself to his children, despite his deep love and care. This poem reminds me of the song by Paul Simon:

I know a father who had a son.
He longed to tell him all the reasons for the things he’d done.
He came a long way just to explain.
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping then he turned around and headed home again.
Slip sliding away, slip sliding away.
You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away.
Such is the challenge of fatherhood.

Lovework

Gestures of Love – the Fatherhood Poems is such a great resource of fathering inspiration for families that Dads4Kids www.dads4kids.org.au     is offering a free copy to anyone who give a donation of over $20.00.

Just make your donation at the GiveNow portal and then forward your receipt of payment (which should include your address details) and we will get your copy in the mail next week.

After postage and handling, Dads4Kids will only receive a few dollars, so please be generous. This is such a fantastic book and encouragement to fathers. You receiving and reading it will help Dads4Kids fulfil its mission to help the children of Australia. Dads4Kids wants to make this gift as affordable as possible, knowing the delight it will bring to you and your family.

Yours for more gestures of love

Warwick Marsh

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