Here you lie, a dapper chap who once spoke
with ease of dreams for church and community,
a warm smile often breaking free to crease
your handsome tanned face, a visionary
eager to convert the conventional to what
you saw could become more. A man well read
you were witty on the fly – when others spoke,
their words barely took flight before being snared,
deconstructed and reassembled with
a plethora of puns, your engaging grin
and chuckle a ransom for forgiveness.
A community doctor, you could listen
well, but generally speaking, preferred
to play the role of first responder.
Over many autumns on Aotea
personal dogma mellowed to a softer
stance, and we welcomed the apology.
Now, leaving an artful home, a splendid
garden, expressions of a creative soul
pressed early into a medical mould
you lie here in this crafted box of ply,
elegant in Barrier simplicity.
The piebald beard of a wise old man;
fine hands that once clasped others to warmly
shake, now folded cold in cream and bruise;
under the quilt, skinny thighs betray years
of debilitating weariness, and resting
in their closed bivalve shells, such brown eyes
that long had loved to read the deep
and sparkle with light play on surfaces.
Having come through a hard start in China,
long separations and internment camps,
there were knots in your timber, yet strength
to nurture family, serve community,
supporting a life lived well between heaven
and earth, securing our love and admiration.