Grandpa Jim

He came to me last night
And stood quietly by my bed
A tall man, broad shouldered
Straight back
Wearing a peaked wool cap
Long coat of finest
Harris Tweed
Just like the ones so many men wore
When I was but a child

A think it was my Grandfather
The Ship’s Engineer
His first name was Jim
And I remember him so vividly
When sitting on his knee
And looking at his hands
Especially the gold and sapphire ring
He brought home from his voyages
To India
And he would recite the alphabet for me
To learn Hindustani
I would look into his worn face
Teeth stained brown from Tobacco
And at the same time
Repeat the words I still recall
From long ago

He avoided company
Would quietly cross a room
Slide up the window
Climb out to retreat to
The dim, cool silence
Of his garden shed
I guess we all thought him ill mannered
But now with time and losses of my own
Remembering him sitting smoking
In his favourite chair
I think he really wasn’t there
But back aboard his ship
Feeling the constant rock and sway
Storms, or stillness, or salty spray
Upon his weathered face

He came to me last night
And stood quietly by my bed
Saying nothing, only breathing deep
While I in sleep
Recalled him….a solitary man
Heart torn apart with longing for the sea.

I think he wanted to tell me
He understood
For I too, am sick with it.

MargaretArlen ©️
For Jim, my Grandfather and for my children and their children……
Just now, from mind to fingers to IPad.