I really loved that old man

And once, while talking on the phone,

We remembered that if he were alive,

It would have been his birthday.

But he died, when I was five.

I began to reminisce, with a child’s hazy memories

Some were in fine detail, the spotted and mazy deltas of his sunbrowned hands

And his worn tweed jacket and heavy horn rimmed glasses.

His voice and his smell, unchanging, St Bruno (ready rubbed) and Brylcreem.

In his capacious pockets, he always had something to captivate a child.

As a babe his lap was my special place,

And I would repel any boarders.

But I found that now, to my disgrace,

I had no memory of his face.

(I kept this to myself)

“You take after him in so many ways!”

Was mum’s parting shot.

He didn’t much like photography,

And it was many years before I found the snap,

Taken by a “Bakelite Brownie”

In a shoe box, with some bubble wrap.

My Gran was laughing as ever, pretty in a floral print,

On the sunny banks of the Shannon,

And there standing by the open door

Of his pride and joy, his "Standard" car,

Was a big man, my Granddad, all in black,

And over his arm, his race-course Mack.

But I found one thing was out of place,

For smiling back, was my own face!

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