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Ostriches: Ten Poems About My Dad by Jeanette Burton

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In this uplifting sequence, poet Jeanette Burton takes us on a lively journey to meet her dad: a man whose passions range from DIY to Only Fools and Horses. There are memories of fractious father/daughter driving lessons contrasting with moments of discovery, such as unearthing one of the entertainingly deadpan love letters he wrote in the 1960s while courting his wife-to-be.

The title poem evokes a more recent car journey in which the poet’s dad is a reluctant passenger who cannot resist tinkering with something on the dashboard. But there’s a moment of shared joy as he’s persuaded to look up and out of the window:

look, there’s ostriches in the field over there.
He finally looks, really looks, sees this swagger
of flightless birds taking in the world around them,
the fence, the road, the cars, the people inside…”

from ‘Ostriches’ by Jeanette Burton



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