(In Memoriam Paul Henry Irwin)
History will not record the passing
of my cousin Paul,
but his star will always shine
in our whakapapa.
Millions of us will never blaze
a trail of fame or infamy
or carve our names irrevocably
in the tree of civilisation,
but the surprise of the small stone
is how far the ripples can reach
and the life of a good man
touches and enriches more lives than he knows.
In these soulless times,
“good” and “decent” have almost become
terms of derision
and kindness and caring carry no kudos.
No one makes the front page
for being a loving father or a loyal husband
and those whose daily deeds deserve respect
are those we all too easily neglect.
But this man who always had a twinkle in his eye,
this quiet achiever who gave more to his community
than he ever took,
who daily fed his faith into his life
was that wisest of men
who come to know that
it is within the little acts of love
that we find the big picture.
Say what you will
of your killers and kings,
your movie stars and moguls
who leave this world
on a comet of newsprint.
I would rather mourn for this man
whose example embraced my life
and whose passing leaves my spirit poorer.
Dim the streetlights.
Go home and kiss your loved ones goodnight.
The gentle grocer has shut up shop
and gone to sing in heaven’s choir.
POET'S NOTE: I hope it is obvious from this poem that I loved Paul, who was married to my first cousin, Robin, very much. He was the kindest, loveliest man you could ever hope to meet and cancer took him from us far, far too soon. I wish he could have lived to see his grandchildren grow up. That would have given him immense pleasure. He was a "family man" in the truest sense of that phrase.
This Tuesday poem is actually posted Friday which is extremely tardy, but I have a good excuse. I have been Stage-Managing the Christchurch Repertory's production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Season runs Wednesday November 2 to Tuesday November 8. If you are in Christchurch, please come and see it. It rocks!!!