for Wally Bates

© Copyright Greg Champion

he’s a big man
he comes from another time and place
he’s had many trades he told me
plasterer and labourer and more

he’s a big man
a laugh that comes from deep within
a strong frame built on friendliness
his warmth and his courage and his love

we’re gonna lose him
he cries not for himself
but for the wife he knows he’ll leave behind

They’ve spent fifty years together
Broken only by his four years as a prisoner of war
She was one of the lucky ones
‘cos he. was one of those who came home

and we cry for him
we who’ll lose his loveliness
his eyes that twinkle when he talks
like a true life Santa Claus

he knits, he does tapestry
cracks his jokes so easily

Salt of the earth
Salt of the earth
Salt of our earth
And bound for the next world
if we. If we can let him go

he’s a big man
a heart like a pie-cart
a love that shines out from him
built on seventy years of being
a mighty Australian