A WHILE YET ON THIS EARTH
Richard B Gillion
My Uncle John Locke gave us all a big shock
When he died, so we thought, at aged 80
He were laid out in t' parlour and were being measured up
By an undertaker wi' an expression right weighty.
When the measure was stretched 'twixt his two funny bones
He sat upright at once in his berth
Wi' a grin on his face, said, "Tha shoudn't be surprised
I've got a while yet on this earth."
"I've got a while yet on this earth," he'd reply
When folks said they'd thought he'd have gone
For he outlived his school-mates, his work-mates and all
And he lived to be hundred and one
"Now be careful Old John," folks would say to his face
"At your age you canít go so fast."
"At my age, my eye," was his ready reply
As he went striding past.
And to prove that he still could outdo all his peers
And his death a pre-mat-ure report
He joined up for tennis, gymnastics and golf
And won three gold medals at sport.
But he thought all these games at bit tame by the by
As he outdid all senior players
And thought "Thatís what I'll do, I'll head for the snow.
I'll climb all those tall Himalayas."
They all thought him daft and right well off his raft
"Spend your days with your family in mirth."
"Nay, nay," he would spurn, "party when I return,
For I've got a while yet on this earth."
He were t' first man to climb Ever-est on his own
Pulling all his own gear on a sled.
And not having a camera to prove where he'd been
He'd drawn us a picture instead.
He went back next year, like the geese and wild deer,
Like Hannibal who fought the wild Roman
He drew pictures of snow-leopards, blue-sheep and musk-deer
And one abom-in-able snowman.
One creature he found had a terrible wound
And it's fur was all matted and sweaty
It looked at Old John with big dolorous eyes
Surprisingly soft - for a yeti.
He took the wounded yeti to his rented hut in Seti
Gave him porridge and a nice hot cup of char
This made the creature purr, and to dry off all his fur
He sat him right beside the small stick fire.
Now the months had dragged on long, since we'd heard from Uncle John,
And I was delegated to go and see
Was he in his grave and dead, with mountain fever in his bed,
Or had he settled down and raised a family?
The latter was more the mark, as I thought of his remark
When folk thought it was too long since his birth
"I'm far from done for yet, and anything I'll bet
That I've got a while yet on the earth."
At last I found his hut, and although the door was shut
A terrible smell of soggy fur came through
When I knocked upon the door, I heard a terrible roar
And Uncle John said, "Wait I'll go see who."
Through the smog he poked his head, and all at once I said,
"What's that steaming creature of great girth?"
With a grin from ear to ear, he spoke so loud and clear,
"I've got a wild yeti on this hearth."