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a salute to my Uncle Mick (1935 – 2007) who lived with great gust through the trees and great dark-wood texture for most of his life in Ramsden Heath, Essex, quietly, with a smile

 

 

 

                                          Dear Dad

                           it was good to see you on such a sad day
            Mick would have been satisfied that we had come together as family again
                           whether he was there or not

                           I wandered in his house a little to say goodbye
                                          and to see if there was anything I wanted to take
                                          to remember him I didn’t take anything
            I might have taken endless bits
                                          awkwardly
                           or I had to realise that all my time with him
                                          had happened thirty years ago already passed that I cannot hold onto
            I have to say goodbye to him
                                          with gratitude
                                          to recognise what he gave to my life
                                                              and to the world
                           a more complete tribute
            than trying to hold onto all the bits and pieces

                                                              all those people who attended the ceremony
                                          all pulled together by eye and staple
                           the perfect meet of frame and circumstance*

                                          Mick taught me to see
                           the colour of oil in a lamp
                                                              the deep colour of port through a green bottle
                                          the deepest green of holly and laurel
                           the shadows under border shrubs

                                                              I learnt to smell hedgerows
                                          while walking too fast past them
                                          I listened to the ancientness
                           of horse and leather and dogs
            I creaked the chairs and drew the wood and linen of pubs closed
                                                              to the rain-slatter of the afternoon

                           I envied his example – the lesson – the nobility of action
                           translucent gallantry and service to anyone who was around –
            it was not too much to go out into the kitchen and make everyone a round of sandwiches when every one couldn’t be bothered –
                                          quiet and strong

                           I remember
            Ringo** lifted up to head height so that he could see himself in the mirror
                                          (he didn’t notice, but looked at the floor)
                           I remember the canary-yellow sports car parked in the field
                                                              away from Nan’s annoyance

                                          and the draw of a cigar slightly moist yet
                                                              with light brown wrapping and deep brown leaf –
            he was completely arrived when he held that cigar gently between jointed fingers –
                           and the crawling out of a bedroom window right along the roof of the outhouses
                           to get THE shot in a water fight during a too hot day
            and the magic – the alchemy – showing me how to paint the image of a tree
                                          with oils – a stroke and a dab-smudge in the wind
                                          you ‘suggest’ the shape rather than create it –
                           the single detail he painted on the mantelpiece in his sitting room
                                                                                              olive green
            the near-tearful goodbyes when the visit came to an end waving until we were out of sight –
                                                              he’s still waving!

                           he once showed me annoyance
                                          when he stopped me walking straight across a side street in Herbert Road
                                          without checking I was a little stunned
                                                              but enormously honoured that he thought it was important

                           I probably only saw him
                           for forty days in my life
            but he has coloured my world as indelibly as oil paint
                                                              (suggested not created)
                           I saw great loss in your face and your shoulders today
                                          Dad
                           but please please look at all the colour and texture
                                          in your life from the 72 years you shared with him
                                          he was an OK painter on canvas
                           but he created wonderful landscapes
                                                              in our lives

                                                                                 he once lamented
                           that you and I don’t see each other much – and he was damned right of course –
            his last masterstroke was to show me this
                                                              today

 

* Mick served in Kenya during his National Service; when he returned he worked on a farm and as a gardener and finally set up his own business framing pictures which supported him for the rest of his life
** stupid boxer dog family pet

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

afternoon & green & olive & rain wormhole: bad sneakers
bedroom wormhole: dream 040198 / Eglinton Hill
brown wormhole: blue and green / a l l s o r t s
cars & dog wormhole: through the window
death wormhole: existence
doing & smile & time wormhole: t w e n t y f i r s t c e n t u r y l i f e
family & house wormhole: father figure – triptych
field wormhole: slow slow / quick quick / slo / w
hedge wormhole: 3:30 am
Herbert Road wormhole: Herbert Road diptych
kitchen & yellow wormhole: zazen in everyday life
life wormhole: tag cloud poem I – numbers
lifetimes wormhole: Have what, now?
mirror wormhole: dream / 301197 // home
muse wormhole: Saturday
Ramsden Heath wormhole: duck calls
red & silence & trees & walking wormhole: let
roof wormhole: … the discipline of shamatha / and the waft of vipashyana
seeing wormhole: zazen
shadow wormhole: point of realisation
streets wormhole: wha’
uncle wormhole: Michael Redford: // someone missing
wind & windows wormhole: across the room / through the patio doors / through the conservatory windows / at the bottom of the garden / the still bifurcated trunk of / the oak / before the let-grown hair and fringes / of the fir tree / blown every lifetime in a while by the winter sun // actually
wood wormhole: again

 

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