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Farewelling Ivan

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.

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