Or Death of a Painter
He had the dark good looks of a forties film star
As my sister and I eyed his old photos eagerly
As he blushed and mumbled, embarrassed with the flattery,
But quietly chuffed too I think.
A hard-working man, he worked all his life, on the farm, saving hay
The old way
You could see his haycocks in the distance, with their little covers
Like handkerchief hats on Brighton beach,
As you glimpsed them through a break in the trees.
Basket-weaver too; he showed us the results of his craft;
Baskets for logs and turf, told us how he chose the willow twigs
And bent them to his will.
A painter by profession, he worked a six day week
And put up with sciatic pain for years
With grace and good humour.
I heard he was a fine dancer once,
And have no doubt it’s true.
He was a proud man too
Not in some boastful, conceited way
But with tenderness and love.
For his wife’s fine baking (which is legendary)
For his daughter’s uncommon beauty,
The achievements of his children
And in later times his grand-children as well.
He had once lost, in a fire, everything; the lot,
Burnt to the very ground!
But he was truly grateful that all his family escaped, unharmed,
That was the only thing that really mattered, he knew.
He’d been so touched by kindness of his friends
Who came with what they could afford to give.
Most precious of these gifts perhaps, the photos
To replace his own that had all gone up in the smoke!
When my partner, Pat, lay dying in a hospital bed,
For eight whole weeks
He came to see him every single day,
Save one, I think, as he was working far too far away
But came instead that night, if memory serves me right.
And now with his passing, it is a sad loss for us who’re left behind.
Up there, where earthly pains and aches are felt no more,
He and Pat will find a dance-partner apiece
And dance a polka set; quick feet slapping on some heavenly floor?
R.I.P. Danny Lynch, 1930 (?) – 11th June 2012