A proud man, Upright and unshakable In belief and morals, Once only I did I see him Without a tie.
A child of Edwardian England, The links Of his watch chain Glinted As they hung With formality and elegance From his waistcoat pocket, Yes, even as he worked.
And work he did. Patiently, Brilliantly and tirelessly With ingenuity and imagination. A craftsman from a bygone age. A master of his tools.
Grandfathers are soft, Playful, bear-like in their Gruff-whiskered familiarity.
Not Poppy. Unwittingly aloof from his grandchildren, We avoided the need for directly addressing him, Unsure of where we stood. He’d probably have secretly Loved the informality Of our secret nickname. I hope he knew.
The chapel piano did for him. Too much weight for his work-weary ticker.
Grandma gave me his pocket watch to keep, And for a time I treasured it, Measuring its weight Like a smooth round pebble In my palm. A workman’s watch; Practical. A yellowing face Behind a scratched And hazy glass. But accurate, And precise. Reliable as the man.
Detached in life, I liked to hope that Gazing down, Watching, He just might have Laughed In loving acknowledgement of his Grandson’s curiosity And foolishness Sitting cross-legged on the carpet, With heart-thumping nausea