Preserved in his wallet for the past 53 years were some of the first words I wrote in my entire life. “My Daddy is called Hubert…”
Later I wrote the poem FAITH for him.
My brother-in-law Hubert aged 79, died last week. He was a second father to me and my two sisters who lost our own father at a tender age. He was the kind of man who could be relied upon and he relied on faith and he was brave and good. He did a charity parachute jump and I didn’t ever know that for years. He was a youth leader in the Army Cadet Force. He taught me algebra and he liked:
Ozymandias by Shelley
“My name is OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings.”
Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!
No thing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
A bitch of a schoolteacher –– Miss Aiken — who used to pull my plaits if I read a word wrong, and gave me a stammer for years when I read aloud (a thing I still hate to do folks which explains to some exent my reclusive poetry) forced me to write those (most treasured) words that he carried with him, by insisting that we write about our daddy not our mammy. He lived a remarkable and blameless life. There are two kinds of people in this world; one who are part of the problem and those who are part of the solution. In terms of Ulster and in terms of life — Hubert was always part of the solution.
She was the worst of teachers.
He was the very best of men.
He suffered from epilepsy and in recent years dimentia due to epilepsy. It is a cause that is part of this year’s LONGITUDE PRIZE launch. It’s matters!
Please if you can, donate something to that cause this week.