Farewell, Eric, last among those uncles
who brightened all the evenings of my childhood,
with your long legs, your awkward grace,
your teeth, and the quickness of your tongue.
How my father would laugh, on the grey settee
where my mother cuddled close beside him;
us kids curled in armchairs or sprawled
like kings on cushions on the carpeted floor.
It was magical then, your flickering presence;
and your antics appealed to our innocence.
No drama queen: through your jokes and pranks,
your straightforward kindness shone through.
So night, night, Eric, now you go to your rest
with the prayers of at least two generations,
those who you lifted when life was bleak
by the very English art - of being - you.
© Abigail Wyatt
Eric Sykes dies aged 89
Abigail is one of the three founding members of the Red River Poets. The latter will be appearing at the Heartlands Project in Cornwall, 29th September, as part of 100 Thousand Poets for Change.