Uncle John was the most whimsical of men
He laughed a lot
He saw the funny side of so much
Nothing appeared to get him down
He was indeed a happy chappy.
But he had a dark side
A side he kept well hidden
For he harboured a pain
A grief that was unimaginable
For once when he was fifteen
His mates went out
As young boys do
To camp to drink, to explore
To do the things young boys love to do.
Camping in an old brown house
He played with the fire, flicked the ashes about,
And never noticed one smouldering ember
Lodged in the bed of his best mate Mike.
Before they could do anything Mike was alight
In the blink of an eye, the house was in flames
Mike and one other boy died that night.
Uncle John’s heartbreak was life long
Shunned by so many
Ostracised by the family
It took a year to get him out of his room.
Uncles John is a whimsical man
It’s a front he puts up
He is a jolly fellow
But like the happy circus clown
There is a depth to this man
Who is kind beyond words
Is the gentlest of men.
I have stayed with Uncle John
Many times growing up
Have listened to his tale
And I know not a night goes by
He doesn’t cry for his mate.