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The Man Who Spoke in Whispers

(for Jim Ducker)


The growth plundered your voice,
robbing it of tone; you spoke
in well-articulated whispers, inhaling
through that tube thing in your throat.

You shone, in spite of it all.
No self-pity, even near the end,
after years of speaking to us
in breaths the way you did –
yet you had a voice, old friend.

Always the bright guy at the bar,
you brought a twinkle
even to a whisper; a susurrus of wit
would penetrate the tedious tones
of those for whom EastEnders
and the latest from The X Factor
provided fodder for barroom babble.

Struggling to be heard but stubbornly
winning with smiles and quips,
you were never less than sparky
with your crackling one-liners
and the percussion of your Good Advice.

Quite suddenly you died;
thirteen months ago you died.
You would not wish me to reach
for a soppy synonym.
You did not pass away:
you died, you died, you died.

I handled your affairs –
so long ago, it seems;
but time and distance are
such fragile things, and grief
is no respecter of them:
whisper its name
and it will return to you.

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  1. Date: 2/1/2013 12:54:00 PM

    Sounds like you had the very best of a friend. Not every one is so lucky. You have paid him a fine tribute here.

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