Margaret Alice Second

Gold Star - 16,370 Points (24 January 1961 / South Africa)

Goodbye Christine - Poem by Margaret Alice Second

Sun, surf, holiday and sea - is that
what retiring from the NLS will be,
will Christine sing Take my hand,
I'm a stranger in Paradise* as she

Walks along the beach, picking up
pebbles and throwing them into the
sea*, knowing the Carnival is over*,
The Last Waltz is done*

Today she is leaving to start a new
life of freedom while she is thinking:
Say goodbye for I must leave thee-
do not let the parting grieve thee

Christine so efficient, smiling and bustling
around - untiring, busy - knowing where
everything is - ready to please, sharing
days of sweet delight in Kingsley Centre

Laughing and crying, despairing without
air-conditioning, facing the myriad requests
HR presents, doing innumerable quarterly

Dealing with bureaucratic routine resembling
a game of charades: Christine - you were so
warm and real in a sea of strangers; may you
be prosperous and blessed

And never forget the rest of your colleagues
continuing life in the trenches where termi-
nology and language will languish without
your happy presence…

* References to Popular Songs:

I'm a stranger in Paradise
When The Carnival is over
The Last Waltz
Say goodbye for I must leave thee - There Is A Tavern

Poet's Notes about The Poem

Christine Marais, a wonderful colleague, left the Department at the end of March,2012, and I wrote this greeting for her farewell function held on 29 March.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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