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.
cardboard coffincelebrationcharmCheshire Lines railwayChestercomradescortègeDavid RobinsongravitasironiesMillennium Greenwaypanama hatrecycledred rosesSt Mary's CentreThe Red Flag