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Robin

February 19, 2012

Twenty-three years ago, on a tranquil afternoon in May, I was walking alone on the west bank of the Weaver when a name popped into my head.  The name of a lad I’d worked with briefly in 1962 or ’63 – Robin.

We’d been brought up on stories of the war, lads of our generation, whose dads – most of them – had served in the forces.  Guy Gibson, Airey Neave, Douglas (“Tin Legs”) Bader and others of their courageous kind were our heroes.  But now we were entering a whole new era.  Merseybeat had been born, with The Beatles, Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Searchers and many other groups beginning to make their mark in the dance clubs of Liverpool, most famously The Cavern.

Robin had a way with him.  Bright, assured, with mildly mocking eyes, he was very much a presence.  Not that you could have ignored him anyway, the way he roared about on that gleaming beast of a motorbike, his pride and joy. 

Robin should have gone on to enjoy the best of the Swinging Sixties; the best, indeed, that life had to offer.  We were shocked when he died in an accident.  And, a mate though he wasn’t, still I feel the ripples whenever I recall those mocking eyes.

It was quiet on the riverbank with only waterfowl, the odd heron and maybe a fox for company.  I entered a copse with the beginnings of a poem in mind.  And stepped out into the late sunshine with it ready to be pinned on paper… 

 

ROBIN

 

We were never best mates,

You made that very plain,

How well I remember your disdain.

 

You were a wild lad, Robin.

Wild on your motorbike

In those distant days of The Cavern.

 

Leather-clad and devil-may-care,

You laughed at our warnings,

Our promise of flowers for your funeral;

Two fingers to Fate as you roared away,

Bader after Messerschmitts.

 

It was unbelievable when you died, Robin,

Died the front-seat passenger in your best mate’s car.

But we kept our promise.

 

 

© Copyright Paul Beech 2012

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From → Poetry

4 Comments
  1. Jackie Jordan permalink

    When fate takes the life of one who is truly full of life, we surrender our hearts to sadness. Your poem is a touching tribute that soul named Robin. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks, Jackie. Robin was indeed full of life – full of youthful sap rising, with a sort of mocking laddish charm. We thought he’d get himself killed on his motorbike. He told me I was NOT his best mate. Then he died in his best mate’s car. The shock and irony of it will always haunt me, I guess.

  2. Hello Paul,

    I just had an email from jackie Jordan telling to come and visit your blog. he thinks we may have a lot in common.

    I’ll come regularly to find out if he’s right.

    One thing I know, you might think of me as the enemy of your heroes, although it’s all a very long time ago.

    • Friko, I’m so pleased Jackie suggested you drop by – you’re very welcome!

      Creatively, I suppose I inhabit the poetry/prose borderland, leaning a little more towards the prose. How about you? I hope you like my stuff anyway.

      If your last paragraph refers to WWII, of course you’re right: it was all a very long time ago.

      Look forward to your future comments.

      Paul

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