“Camsie” …a fond farewell



(This poem is dedicated to Peter Cameron (27th July 1943 - 14th December 2014) and was written by a lifelong friend, Gordon Howie.  For the benefit of the few reading this poem who did not know Peter here's a little background information. He was brought up in Manse Crescent, Stanley and never lost his love of the village although he had lived in Dunkeld for many years with his wife Joan who he married in 1966.   After leaving Perth Academy he worked for General Accident until he joined the police force in 1964.  He served 30 years with the police in various places around Perthshire.  This is how one of his female colleagues from Tayside Police described him on social media:  "PC - a legend".  Pretty accurate.  His final job was with Stagecoach as a claims investigator and he retired from there at the age of 65.  He had a phenomenal memory and could recount facts and people from many years ago.  In fact he was my main source of information for "all things Stanley".  He was also a great raconteur and had a lively sense of humour which made him good company.  (His stories were legendary and got taller as the years passed).   Jimmy Donaldson.  December 2014.


By Exile


The December morning sun shone bright on the wintry Dunkeld Square
The faces of the hurrying folk were tense and drawn, hearts’ sair,
They’d come to pray for Camsie’s soul and to pay their last respects,
They’d come to honour one of their own, one of their very best

Hundreds filed into the Cathedral ‘till it could take no more
And hundreds gathered resolutely and waited outside the door
They waited there in silence ‘till they heard from far away,
The plaintive sound of the bagpipes as the piper began to play

Marching staunchly in the distance wearing sashes of red and green
With their heads held high the Freemasons of the district could be seen
Accompanying their brother until he was carried high
By the ‘bearers’ into the Cathedral, where we would say, ”Goodbye”

A celebration of Camsie’s life was conducted to great effect
Orchestrated by Fraser the Minister, who caused us to reflect
On how our lives were all the richer for sharing Peter’s life
And for supporting Anne and Ian, and Joan his lovely wife

We sang ‘By Cool Siloam’s Shady Rill’ and then ’Abide With Me’
Interspersed with anecdotes from Gordon Howie’s eulogy
Big Willy Semple had them laughing, ”Peter Cameron was not PC”!
With Anne and Ian, more reflective, reciting heartfelt poetry

A rousing rendition of “How Great Though Art”, then finally, a prayer
Before carrying Peter through the crowds, throngs of people everywhere
The piper led the cortege, as we walked solemnly behind the hearse
Mourners stopped, respectfully bowed their heads, or gave the sign of Reverence

And so it was, they lined the route o’er the bridge into Little Dunkeld
For this was where the cemetery was, and the burial  service held
The sun still shone in the cloudless sky, and as I looked around
Hundreds watched in respectful silence as we lowered him in the ground

Fraser’s final prayers and blessings given, the stalwart piper played
“The Sleeping Tune”, a poignant lament, which filled the space where Peter laid
Freemasons came to the graveside, honourably, reverentially, and in pairs
To say “Farewell” and throw ‘acacia sprigs’ on their Brother lying there,  

I know he would have been fair proud as he looked down from above
Nodding quietly at acquaintances, friends, and a family’s undying love  
Standing there, surrounded, by the headstones and the cairns
I swear that I heard Camsie say, “We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns”.


 Copyright Calluna publishing 2015