Big Jack

His father beat him,
With anything around,
Preferring doubled over and rusty barbed wire.
Jack would grit his teeth and take it,
He wasn’t giving in.

At twenty-one,
While working on a power pole,
He received a shock which would kill any man,
Which killed him –
Until being dropped while carried down the pole,
Started his heart again.
He wasn’t giving in.

At hospital they removed a charred arm and leg.
Photos show him lying in bed,
With a smile that went from ear to ear.
He wasn’t giving in.

Working through the week and helping others on weekends,
He never complained and never asked for help.
Early mornings he could be seen,
Beads of sweat on his brow,
As he tied his shoelace,
A challenge with one hand.
He wasn’t giving in.

He raised children,
Then raised grandchildren too.
Worried that he might not make it until those who needed him were grown.
He wasn’t giving in.

One he treated like a second son,
Would think of no other name for his own child,
Than the only man who inspired him,
The one who wouldn’t give in.

Swelling in the spine,
Confined to a chair,
He still works from sun up.
Worried that time off for surgery,
Will mean that his granddaughter who lives with him will do without.

Big Jack –
He isn’t giving in.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
24 February 2013