I was going to post this after Dad’s funeral but I’ve decided that today, his birthday, would be a better time to do it.
Background story: we asked Dave, my cousin, to write a poem that we could print off and give to people at his memorial service - Dave is sickeningly talented and writing poems is somewhat of a gift of his (amongst many others). Many years ago Dad took an old lawnmower, a big yellow thing that had driven wheels but you had to walk behind, and basically bolted a bike frame on to the front and added a series of cunning levers to control the throttle, brake etc.
So, here is the poem and, at the end, an old photo of the contraption in question:
An ode to an unknown man to most
Who never saw the need to boast,
Comes pure and simple from the heart,
The only real place to start.
Now some of you may find it sad, that Bas has passed away,
Others understand he’s found another place to stay.
For some he will be sorely missed and pain will hold their hand,
But more will know he’s reached the shore, with a different kind of sand.
As a husband, father, brother, uncle and a granddad too,
His ways and means (like magic beans) were known to but a few.
To most he was a quiet man who rarely wasted words,
And yet they flew quite clear, quite true, like flocks of little birds.
Now if they came to rest upon your branches short or long,
Their little feet would dance a beat and then burst into song.
To ears that hear, perhaps a fear could be persuaded to leave,
And that is why some here today will laugh instead of grieve.
Most saw him as a tinkerer, the shed his secret lair,
Where bikes were stripped and mowers whipped until they stood quite bare.
But just like Doctor Frankenstein his monster would take shape,
Then out he’d ride in an oily pride with neighbours’ mouths agape.
A Scramble-Mower-Auto-Bike was what he had created,
Upon its seat, he felt quite neat and quietly elated.
And in this fine eccentric way he’d cut the grass at dawn,
A blur of speed, green blades and seed, and a wheelie up the lawn!