My grandfather’s watch. Dedicated to Raymond, and to Antony Jefferson, a good old friend, who died today. 8/11/17.

Pampis watch

Just lately,

I’ve been wearing my grandfather’s watch.

It’s nothing fancy,

a Seiko, battery run,

sporting a strap I bought

(which came from Hong Kong)

with the green and blues of Pembroke College.

Seemed appropriate

to somehow acknowledge

where I, and it, have found ourselves,



One thing I love about it?

The days of the week are there

both in English and French :









Something about this sequence,

fills me up

with primary school delight.

Allows my imagination

aboard ‘time’s winged chariot’

taking flight.


My grandfather – “Pampi” I called him.

How long this watch encircled his wrist

I’m afraid I can’t be sure.

But he lived, flourished,

enriched our lives,

some 90 years and more.

Stayed married for 70 years plus,

to his beloved Eleanor.


A soldier, salesman, publican, manager

gentleman, tough guy, dog lover.

What you get, is what you see.

Author of his own CV.

Gardener, collector, football fan.

Turn his hand to anything man.

Lived through the two great wars.

Raised a family, and well.


Courteous, brave, impetuous on times

not one for making too much fuss.

Always one for trying to make things right,

he did not

‘go gently into that good night’.

Fought, as he had so often done.

Diminished, quietened, death

as ever

finally won.


One day, maybe

I’ll circle the globe,

as did he.

Unless it’s a privilege

to be denied.

But, for now,

he is here,

living, laughing, breathing

all in my mind’s eye.

As are my grandmother, my in – laws,

today, Antony Jefferson, Sheffield steel.

So many friends

now departed,

men and women of substance and style.

And, over these years,

subdued by sorrow,

flattered by joy,

warmed by many a sun kissed sky,

I dwell awhile.


dropping like leaves,

red and blue veined,

autumn scuffled,

where once were bluebell woods

and rain flushed streams.


storm flung dreams

and the broken hearted.


Yet sadness can be caught,

spat out,


rendered absurd.

If I’ll be true to my grandfather’s word…

why, then,

I’ll wear his watch often

and ever with pride,

in this

my steadily, tick tocking world

for I’m alive

and ever hopeful,

and those I loved are by my side.

The seconds, moments,

months, weeks and years

will pass.

And yes, of course,

mankind is ‘as grass’.

But life, richly lived,

studied and scoped full,

embraced and celebrated,

surely this,

is death denied.