Norm; an unassuming friend

Ode to a friend…..

Norm passed last November 2011; a nicer bloke was hard to find.

He shared himself;  and a joke. Yes, Norm was truly kind.

I really loved this bloke; one in one hundred million

He didn’t say much; what he did say, though, was worth a trillion.

He was a rough man; a diamond never cut

He didn’t need it; his clarity was natural… but

He’d be the first to tell you; he was an honest man

He didn’t care for dressing up, or beer in a can

No, Norm was open and friendly; a man of his word

I miss you, you old bugger; guess you hadn’t heard

It’s the good ones that go early; and yet it was your time

You’re not grieving, no. Just us, the ones left behind…… 

________________________

Norm wrote many poems and always shared a joke or two; we loved this man and miss his smiling face. His eyes held such an honest gaze with an intelligence that belied his unassuming gait.

One of Norm’s most attractive qualities was the way in which he saw ordinary events in such great detail both physically and in that elusive quality of the ‘heart’. Following is one of his poems.  

________________________

The Vigil

I met an old digger on Anzac day and the

look in his eyes seemed so far away,

he’d marched before dawn and now out of breath,

had remembered his mates and their untimely death.

And he spoke of a war long before my time

where just to survive, you grew old while still in your prime

and he said….. Eleven of us volunteered from my home town,

there wasn’t even enough uniforms to go all around.

 

And a sergeant thought he’d get a country boy fit

with latrine duty digging the pit.

Then herded onto boats and Dardanelles bound

to fight Johnny Turk upon his home ground.

Three days at Pozieres almost drove us insane,

the German big guns, the shells fell like rain.

 

And the mud at the Somme could bog a man down

with a ninety pound backpack you’d easily drown.

The devil must have taken note, as we sprang from the trench

and charged head long for the barbed wire fence.

The orchestra of gun fire played all the time,

sleep was a luxury so hard to find.

 

Then Armistice Day, I stood all alone,

ten of my mates would never go home.

So I’ve marched each year down to the square;

stood at attention at the stone monument there.

But I can put faces to those names graved in stone

and at least, in my memory, I can bring my mates home.

Poem © Norman Ronald Casson

Image © Carolyn Page

6 thoughts on “Norm; an unassuming friend

    1. Thanks Catherine and Teresa, I have been waiting all of this time to ‘do’ something like this. You know when you really admire someone and feel the need to honour them….? well I feel that now I can let his wonderful character go… Never to be forgotton and always remembered for all of his kindnesses….

    1. Your comment (on your blog) about always remembering them is so true. Some people leave such a deep mark on us. Norm was one such person. He was a truly genuine man; so unassuming. He epitomised the saying ‘the salt of the earth’….. His passing was such a shock to everyone; he seemed so strong and yet his heart health (apparently) was not good. I miss him, the old bugger… and I know a few more that I’d miss enormously were their lives to end suddenly. In a way, that makes me feel warm inside…. it’s nice to know such people; they make my life so much richer. Were they to pass suddenly I would feel quite sad and yet, so pleased to have known them…. It’s certainly a double edged sword….

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