- a poem for my Dad, five years after he died


On family evenings the Scrabble came out.

Board on table, racks placed squarely,

Scorer poised with notepad and pen.

Tiles clatter in their bag as fingers grope.

We sit forward in chairs, frowning, plotting.

Eyes flick from rack to board. Serious business.

Letters form syllables or nonsense,

Furtively anagrammed, re-aligned.

A possibility? … if only … next go …

Our collaborative crossword reaches out

To tantalising Triple Word squares at the edge.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Dad grumbles

When his letters won’t oblige;

He likes to win. But then

His attention quickens. An eager hunch,

Theatrical reticence in the placing of tiles –

Five, six - then a flaunted seventh.

All out, for an extra fifty. Fifty!

We trail behind, resigned to losing.


Inside the box-lid, fading pencil recalls

Best score:  Dad, 347.

He’s five years dead. We still play;

My own best score nudges close,


But no, no closer.  Dad’s record stands. 



Ronald Trevor Newbery, 1923 - 2015