A VIGIL FOR ONE FATHER IN HIS 96TH YEAR

Guardian_pic_of_nelson_mandelaby Mandela Tribute08 Dec 2013

(for Nelson Rohlilahla Mandela, born 18 July 1918, died 5 December 2013, and John Royston Danks Brown (Dad), born 6 September 1918)

by Hamish Danks Brown

Seven weeks and,
since last night,
a direct crossing from life to death
has further distanced two old men,
with the older one broaching the door
we will all pass through.
Now only the younger of them
gleans from the 24/7 ad nauseum news
that the elder of them
has finally left him
still here for a limited time
with the few of us
still gathered close by.

"I may be going very soon", he said to me yesterday morning,
as he returned to bed
and placed his hand-hewn walking stick
by his side.
"You know that there is to be no funeral when I'm gone"
he reminds me again, not mentioning that
we have already filled in the forms
since he has agreed
to donate his body to medical science.

They're both over halfway through their tenth decade,
shedding the once taut skins that drummed out about
all the events and circumstances of their long lives
of individual striving for freedom, justice, peace and love.
One reached boldly out to many, many millions
while the other lived modestly and mildly,
and now only the younger of these two fathers
is still guessing as to when he won't wake again
nor have to keep getting up through the night
and worry about what she (Mum).....
.... just what we will do without him.

While South Africa's Madiba
is now as one with the sand mandala
dissolving in the wind
here at home Mum had quite forgotten
that today - 6 December - is her 87th birthday.
Dad has asked me to bring home
some nice chocolates for her
when I've finished the shopping.

Seven weeks and,
since last night,
a direct crossing from life to death
has further distanced two old men,
yet we are all sentenced to being
absented in a nanosecond,
a heart offbeat,
a vox-popped ending,
a drop-of-knees bending
at this sequel-less
finish of the closing credits
and those closing in curtains
that can't stop the ululating chant
that the one being freed
cannot hear
at this very last time.

6 December 2013

Hamish Danks Brown and Danksta Downunder
(2 sons in one in our 57th year)