Robert Stratford

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Pākehā funeral letter

Right you jokers –
now that I’m dead

I’m gonna have my say.
For starters, make sure

there’s some photos of me
flashed up against the wall –

back when I was a young fella,
and not just at the end.

Show some with Vera too,
I’ve missed her all these years.

I’ll bet there’s a lot of buggers
here today, that you all haven’t seen

for a while. Bit of a shame,
if you ask me, that you guys don’t

get together more often.

You might as well make the most
of it and play some Slim Dusty and

serve some sausage rolls and whiskey
and all that – have a proper get together.

Just to be sure, I don’t want that Merv
carrying the coffin, his shoulder’s crook

and he never brought  back that
band-saw I lent him in 1979.

You can keep it mate.
And thank me later.

More seriously though, I just hope
that sometime today, as you judge

for yourselves what sort of life I’ve had,
you each take a moment to

work out whether you’d have any regrets –
if you were dead today.

That’s all I really wanted to say.

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