Featured Poem: Stepfather by Brian Patten

This week’s Featured Poem comes hot off the press from the delightfully yellow summer Issue 46 of The Reader. One of the ‘Liverpool Poets’, Brian Patten, features in this issue’s ‘Poet on His Work’ feature, recounting the story behind this powerful poem, which offers an uncompromising insight to a bruised family relationship.


I cannot pick him out the air,
he is not there,

nor out the soil,
the worm was not his style.

I cannot pick him out the fire,
there’s not a cinder’s worth left.

So why do I still feel bereft
when no love was lost?

Perhaps for what might have been
had he not been.

In the coffin he seems a replica,
a terrible dummy,

still wreaking havoc,
still beating up the living.

Brian Patten


Stepfather features in Issue 46 of The Reader Magazine and is republished here with the kind permission of the author.

If you want to read the whole story behind the poem, then make sure you subscribe to The Reader Magazine to receive the latest issue, as well as 3 others over the course of a year for a great price of £24 – 15% off the cover price.

Stay tuned to the TRO blog today for a full-taste of what’s inside the latest edition of The Reader…

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