Saturday, March 07, 2009

The association, disassociated

(In memory of Uncle John)

What will they do who are the last of an Association,
When all their old associates have passed?
When the old faithful members will no longer be remembered,
Save in the minds of those who are the last?

That coterie of balding men, that shuffling brigade
Who meet at local Leagues Clubs every week,
Who represent an interest in Taxis or the horses:
Which man will speak for the last man to speak?

As numbers dwindled year by year at E or AGMs,
As old friends died or left them year by year,
Did that single ageing member who was fated to be last
Look forward to the future with much fear?

After the final secretary stands down from the board,
The minutes of the final meeting done,
Who will now draft the letters to commemorate their life
Now the final horse has bolted; it's race run?

Perhaps a final dictum laid down in the final meeting,
Before the minutes finally become
The still and mum reminders of a world that once was lost,
Will lay out the procedure to be done:

A small, pro-forma email sent out to the family
And automated by something... someone...
About the last associate of that Association,
Who no-one else would speak for - who spoke for everyone.


I went to my Uncle John's funeral in Newcastle yesterday. During the funeral there was a letter read out from the local jockey club, and a guy got up speaking for the taxi industry, which gave me the idea for this poem. The minister asked us all to hold an 'image in our heads of John', and think about all the good things he did for us. Mum and I couldn't think of any other image than Uncle John lying on the couch in his Merewether home, watching the telly, just wearing his singlet and trousers - hilarious but appropriate, I think. It summed up his 'fuck you' attitude to life. The poem doesn't actually represent what Uncle John was like, but I'd like to dedicate it to his memory anyway.


TimT said...

It'll be interesting seeing how many parts of this poem make me grimace on reading it tomorrow... certain rhymes are doing it already.

nailpolishblues said...

It reminds me of seeing my dad at army reunions and marching on Anzac day.

I'm sorry for your loss.

TimT said...

Well thanks. The funeral was interesting, though... all these relatives from *his* side of the family who we'd never seen before, and who he'd probably never seen for decades.

Irobot said...

Condolences on your family's loss. Good thought provoking poem Tim. I visit your blog on a regular basis and always look for the poetry and your pithy use of the English language, if not for the pithy helmets.

TimT said...

Ah, the pithy helmet. I thought it had been forgotten (I'd certainly forgotten it...) Thanks for your kind words Irobot!

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