251 – The Day We Burned Grandad

Poem number 251
The Day We Burned Grandad
He burned in all his glory
On a Thursday, late in May
Not quite a viking send off
But impressive, in its way
A hundred people gathered
Men were men and women cried
Hands in laps and eyes on shoes
The birds still sung outside
We played some frank sinatra
And some jazz (his secret vice)
The vicar didn’t know him
But the things he said were nice
His sister spoke of childhood times
Of japes and scrapes and tears
The memories sharp and vivid
Through her own advancing years
Then we launched him, like that viking
To the sombre curtained sea
And we burnt him good and proper
Hankies twisted on our knees
And afterwards we gathered
In his garden, in the sun
With loosened ties and cups of tea
And sandwiches and buns
There was talk of golf and cricket
And the roadworks, and the news
Occasionally we spoke of him
And second guessed his views
Then eventually, as time moved on
The crowd thinned out once more
‘Til at last we waved the stragglers off
And gladly shut the door.
Just the four of us, alone again
The debris in the bin
A sherry and a cognac
One more toast to absent kin
It was done, this day of burning
And tomorrow we’d move on
Gradually adjusting
To the thought that he had gone
But for now an early night, relief
We’d made it through the day
And he’d burned in all his glory
On that Thursday, late in May.