Thursday, 21 March 2013

James Ernest Ellis

08:00:00 Posted by Damp incendiary device , , 5 comments

James Ernest Ellis passed away on 25th February 2013. He was 88 years old.  Not a bad innings for someone who had seen his best friends killed on the battlefield in Burma and suspected he might be next.  For a man whose wicked sense of humour frequently landed him in trouble with members of the opposite sex, it is even more impressive.  

If there's one thing you could say for certain about Jim, it's that he walked his own path through life.  Confident, suave and charming, he cut a dashing figure in the Oulton Broad area of Norfolk where he lived for most of his life.  Never afraid to air an opinion, and a teller of incredibly inappropriate stories at family gatherings, his voice was often heard above the crowd. 

I don't think I would dare to walk in his footsteps.  He's an almost impossible man to follow.  He was my grandad and we bury him tomorrow at Carleton Cemetery.  This is the elegy I have written for the service. 

Jim Lad

I

Sunlight spins silken threads round trees
A blackbird’s matins wake the earth
Bright stems of pearls, dawn’s tears, disperse
A great man sleeps, his bones at ease

Big bear whose words dripped honey-charm
Silk tie, cuff-links, bright gleaming shoes
Sleek, Brylcreemed curls, spiced-musk infused
White trilby crown for August’s warmth

II

Jambo Bwana, Jambo Bibi
Young Jim heard those Kenyan lions
Mixed with Ethiopian scions
Lank giraffes and baobab trees

Friendships forged and friendships rendered
Heat of gunfire’s horror branded
Travel as command demanded
Swamp child stranded, Jim Lad tended

III

Back home on Nelson’s Norfolk Broads
Glass landscape nursed Jim’s coastal flock
By line or net, on bridge or dock
A champion catch, the gift of cod

About the town, a man of note
Tall tales from travel told to all
Loud lion’s roar, East England drawl
Wun cap or tay plays Ma’am – unquote
 
A rainbow flame for butterflies
His garden home to duck and rose
Good neighbour, sharing fact and prose
Jim’s travel made him worldly-wise

IV

Sunlight unwraps her fragile threads
Dusk’s murmured lullabies entice
Blackbird’s nocturne paints dark the skies
The traveller makes for his bed

Gin-rummy lover’s hand is played
His deck shuffled and dealt to those
Who wish him long and sweet repose
Our King of Diamonds, gently laid.



Reactions:

5 comments:

Lisa McFleeca said...

Vicky,

I was going to make a joke about you making me cry first thing of a morning but I can't. That's absolutely beautiful, What a hell of a tribute.

My condolences and I hope everything goes smoothly for you and your family tomorrow. (BIG HUGS)

Lisa xxxxx

Ashley R Lister said...

I'll echo everything Lisa has said in the comment above. Sincere condolences.

And I know you'll give the elegy the reading it deserves tomorrow.

Ash

vicky ellis said...

Thanks guys.

I should have mentioned that the form is taken from Tennyson's Memoriam.

Lindsay said...

Thinking of you today Vicky x He sounds like a great guy and one hell of a character. To echo Lisa this is a hell of a tribute x

Colin Davies said...

I have no words. Vicky, A true master of words, and a wonderful tribute. Thank you for letting us share this with you.