Sunday, July 15, 2007
Sixteen years ago today we lost him.
A presence bigger and more full led him by the hand
to a different world.
‘Bid your troubled hearts be still’ we were told.
Meant well, but the void was too wide, the loss too deep.
His company was gone
My granddad finally could fight no longer and slipped
into a land where the grass, they say, is soft and green,
and the trees are tall and honey-filled.
The tears fell and fell and fell.
They fall now as I remember him with such affection.
His warmth and strength was infectious and so reassuring,
his faith so steadfast that I still reel back, it humbles
For years he hacked out the coal faces of South Yorkshire,
deep under ground with his bare hands.
Hands that were big and strong,
even in my later years as an adult mine were dwarfed
when he held them.
Then there was the playful mischievous side to Rex Chambers.
My father told me that he once emptied a carriage of a train
bound for Boscombe, convinced that it indeed wasn’t,
only to realise his mistake but to be too embarrassed
to admit to his error of judgement and so leave the majority
of the train bound for Middlesbrough instead!
Long before my time I have been told of occasions
where on holiday with the extended family
he would disappear without explanation for quite some time,
only to return to the beach with a supercilious grin on his face,
armed to the hilt with fish and chips for everyone…
I won’t go into his cooking experiments with ingredients
such as pigs trotters, bulls testicles and sheep’s brain!
I remember the man who worked from the early hours of the morning
until he fell asleep in his chair late at night.
I remember the man who could barely breath when he walked 5 yards
later in years having breathed in so much coal dust from the pit.
I remember the tears of frustration when he knew
his once strong body was beginning to really fail him.
I remember the man who on his deathbed asked his sister to
‘sing with him a while’ – the old rugged cross if my memory serves me well.
I remember a warm and strong man,
A trickster who enjoyed colouring outside the lines
And sixteen years ago today we said ‘see you soon lovely man,
see you soon…