Churchill and the Ghost of His Father

 This poem is based upon a document written by Winston Churchill
in his own hand, at the age of 75. 
The letter was found among his personal papers following his death. 
The incident took place late one night in his home in Chartwell, early in 1950.
Late at night and all alone,
Writing at my desk, I turn….
My father, dressed formally
In top hat and tie,
Sitting in a red leather wing-chair.
So Winston… what year is it?
How long have I been gone?
It is now 1950.
You’ve been dead for over fifty years.
It seems like only yesterday….
So what has happened in that time?
So many things….
The Boer War early in the new century.
Since then two World Wars.
Women have the right to vote.
Socialist governments.
Ireland is now free.
There has been such a loss of civility….
Concentration camps that murdered millions.
Bombed cities that killed millions more.
And what of India?
India is no longer part of the Empire.
Oh, Winston… you tell me of such terrible things.
I am glad I did not live to see them come to pass.
We do not despair.  The will of the people shall prevail.
That much you taught to me….
I taught you no such thing, you fool!
You were no good in school.
Why do you think we sent you into the military?
Did you ever make a go of it?
I was a Major in the Yeoman Guard.
Winston, when I hear and talk to you
It makes me wonder you did not
Go into politics….
Perhaps you might have done a lot to help.
You might even have made a name for yourself….
Suddenly he struck a match
To his cigar and disappeared
Into the night, as I sat alone
In front of the embers of the fire.


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