A PUBLIC MAN


i.m. David Robinson

 

At the celebration of his life –

in an erstwhile garrison church now

educational centre – there was music,

applause, laughter, sadness, his cardboard coffin

with red roses and his panama hat.

And it was as if he were there – as he was,

for sure, in the gathered memories

of the many present and the many,

in absentia, who had written.

The order of service commanded

‘All Sing The Red Flag’, and printed the words –

and most did, not just the comrades like us

who savoured and relished his serious joke.

 

Gathered outside in the soft May light,

greeting friends and colleagues then watching

as the cortège took its gradual leave, we

found ourselves applauding in that public place.

 

There are some you cannot believe are dead.

You would be unsurprised if they turned up

one day and continued a conversation

they had begun a week before, a decade.

So as I walk the Millennium Greenway –

part of the old Cheshire Lines railway

recycled (pun intended) – I can imagine

his cycling towards me, stopping, listening,

laughing richly at ironies then tell me,

with charm and gravitas, what I need to know.

 

 

 

Note: The poem was originally published in May 2015.

 

 

 

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  1. #1 by John Huddart - May 24th, 2016 at 06:09

    Never to be forgotten, David. Please repeat, each year.

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