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.
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