A Ship Passing No More
Tribute to Kurt, a Nordic friend and fellow wayfarer
With his yellow sou’wester
and bushy white beard,
looking like a deep-sea trawlerman;
spritely at just eighty-four, tanned,
nose and ears full of stubble,
self-snipped shock of unruly hair,
odd-size boots to placate a renegade bunion,
Kurt was an all-weather eventide walker,
survivor of untold rogue illnesses;
their debilitating effects
never dwelt on;
he said half of him was Finnish
and two-thirds Danish,
only his gammy leg, and his cruising spinnakers,
his big ears, were Swedish!
Living alone, almost deaf,
he spontaneously bellowed out
complete poems, rhymes, witty film lines,
from Strindberg to Povel Ramel,
his own, often plagiarised,
regularly mixed in, with wrong attribution;
all borne gladly;
his propaganda politely refuted,
falling on the hard of hearing,
made counter arguments suddenly
unsustainable, needing repetition,
shortened and louder each time,
till implausible –
gratuitously allowing him to keep
the upper hand!
Though a millionaire,
he lived in the attic to see the distant sea,
Sadly, my homeward path
in from wilderness,
will cross his no more.
The nightly rat he said also enjoyed
his crusty offerings,
will miss both him and them.
written 2018, he actually died 2019 - a long story!