For Charles

by Jane
(Cardiff, UK)

A Poem to Charles aged only 63

You sailed away
On your Viking ship
Leaving behind
Those whom you loved.
It was too soon to go,
Too much not done.
So short a time for joy
In our new dream home.
When you smiled at me
And said “This is the life!”
Little did we know
How brief our dream would be.

What was left behind of yours
Witnessed your mind.
“Intelligence!” your books shouted.
“Care for the future,
The world is at risk
But small steps can save!”
You took those steps
And it meant so much.
A solar powered car,
Food grown and stored.

You played with our grandson
Out in the garden.
Teaching about plants
And having such fun.
Water splashing, plants drinking,
Clothes wet, happy smiles.
Picking raspberries for our meal and eating so many.
“We’ve eaten enough now, save some for tea.”
Stolen raspberries from the box -
A small hand flashes in to grab,
Before the large hand could cover.
That made you laugh, again and again
As you told the tale.

Your garden book with plans for the acre,
Drawn out with meticulous care.
Trees for fruit, favourite apple crumble.
Plants to be grown for vegetables galore.
A list of seeds in the special box
Bought for a birthday
Passed on to others, another gift.
Not a chef, but you made your ‘Peasants’ Surprise,
A pasta meal with your dried veggies.
Not to my taste, but how I wish I had shared it with you,
To make you happy.

Now you’re gone and I’m still here,
“It should have been me,” I cried in the night,
Yet here I am.
Somehow I must carry on in your foot steps,
New house, small garden,
No green fingers have I.
But I’ll get solar panels, as many as I can,
With a battery to store
The sun that still shines
Even though you’re not here.
The charger for the car is new and waiting
Ready for the beams that the panels will catch.

So though you are gone
Your beliefs carry on.
I’ll manage the power
As you did last year.
I’ll learn how to spread
Energy consumption,
Even selling to the Grid
Whenever I can.

But love of my life
Your greatest gift
Was the way you gave
Of yourself to others.
Husband and father,
Brother and son
And grandfather last,
But never least.
You willingly helped
With my mother and father,
Never complained
When demands were made.

So when I feel down
In the depths of despair,
I’ll try to remember
The road map you left.
A route planner for life,
That was quietly led
But shining with goodness
Every step of the way.
I know you’d be saying
Move on and have fun.
And I’ll try, yes I will,
For you and your map.
But if I should falter
And weep bitter tears,
Those tears are the ocean
For your ship that has sailed.

Jane, 12th June 2023

Note: My husband and I had both opted for cremation, but it was a family joke that Charles, because he had some Danish blood, said if he was being cremated he wanted it to be in a Viking ship with the woman chained to the boat as it sailed out on fire!

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