It’s been twenty years since Norman came.
He’d walk passed the window and ring the bell twice,
Step into the porch and into our lives,
He’d hang up his coat and talk of his wife,
Some wine and then tea and a mutual grief.
It’s been twenty years since the old man went.
Grey hair and a suit and a lingering scent
Of cigarettes and mints with an unbalanced sense
Of his unhappy heart, so hurt and unwise.
An affected life and an early demise.
It’s been twenty years since I felt betrayed.
My empathy tested as I yearned and prayed
For that familiar smell and the noise of his car
And his key in the lock turning one turn too far,
But I was left with Norman and an unhappy scar.
It’s been twenty years and now he’s my mate.
His tales of the city and boxing at the State.
The docker’s umbrella and his time spent at sea,
The Chindits, the barracks, an ale in Rigby’s,
And a wealth of knowledge steeped in history.
It’s been twenty years and all of that time,
I’ve had a friend who’d be gone by nine!
I wished he’d stayed longer, yet he’d never suppose
To outstay his welcome, always his right to choose
The path back to his home, my empathy no longer confused.
It’s been forty years and fate has been kind
To me and my family and the wonderful find
Of these two good men who have nourished our lives.
Their input and experience, never have I felt deprived.
An essence between them upon which I still thrive.