Louise Thayer lost her father at 16, but she remembers his music—and his love.
We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves
Resting our head on the sea bed
In an octopus’s garden near a cave –
—The Beatles, “Octopus’s Garden”
In memory of Paul Thayer
I remember a song about an Octopus’s garden
you used to make us laugh.
We would be reading cereal boxes and delaying the walk to school
with waves over our shoulders
to you at the window, watching.
There’s a picture in my album
of you at the new house,
wielding an imaginary axe, threatening the tree,
wearing slippers and a smile.
If you could have been a Beatle you would,
but mum told us you were in a group called The Insects or something else.
Your singing would embarrass me later in life
when I should have been enjoying you
in your Panama hat strumming out your daydream.
In the moments when I wasn’t
in a desperate rush
to grow I loved
walking in fields of bluebells with you
and flying kites
on green hills gone now.
You bought the brown and blue sets in Monopoly
and played your records ritually on Sunday afternoons.
Traveling down to grandma’s house
we always stopped for fish and chips in Exeter, delaying our arrival.
On the way home you’d call mum Suzie and she’d smile
at something you said between junctions and your exit.