The day I heard he'd died,
I wanted to break into the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
and swap all their instruments for cheap toy xylophones.
I wanted to hear nothing all day but
ding ding ding brring!
with a flourish at the end of it
and a shy open smile
because you never heard one
without seeing the other.
I wanted everyone to play xylophones
and nobody to have a tune.
Even the squirrels on the Emmet Clock
with their petals unbending
and their enormous sense of civic pride
I wanted them tapping away on tinny keys,
ting ting ting trring!
And now, at the very least,
I want a tram to be named after him,
and a statue in Lister Gate,
a memorial march once a year,
twice round the Council House
and off to Broad Marsh,
everyone dressed in comfortable
woollen jackets, whatever the weather
and slightly shiny trousers.
A parade of xylophones,
everyone shaking out their arms
on the final ding.
And I want everyone to know
how that man used to make me smile,
how he can still make me smile,
how I can conjure him up
whenever I need to
and how I wish I'd thanked him
when I still had time.
Rosie Garner 2004