What we leave behind


Book coverMy dad, Nigel Winn, died quite suddenly of cancer in 2006 aged 56. Since his death I have been meaning to collect his writing and publish a selection of his poetry. It’s taken me ten years to make time for this, in between having a daughter, getting married, building a house, chasing and holding onto employment and also trying to come to terms with the loss, too.

Dad left behind a collection of poems, a short play and other pieces of writing. He was a bricklayer and carpenter most of his life but started writing actively during the period 1996-2006. During that time, he studied for a BA in English Literature at the University of Lincoln, where he gained a First Class degree. He went on to teach at the university, and was popular among students. Following his death, colleagues established the annual Nigel Winn Memorial Prize for Creative Writing.

His work is quite autobiographical and therefore especially meaningful to those who were close to him. I used Lulu to self-publish this selection of his poetry. It’s very satisfying for me and my family to have a physical copy of his published work and I think that people who knew Nigel may like to purchase a hardback copy of the book, too. It is priced £8.93 + postage which is the lowest price available to me. I make £0.06p on every copy sold because Lulu won’t allow me to reduce the author’s profit to £0 for some reason. A PDF proof of the book can be downloaded here. Thank you for reading it. He was a really good man.

Nigel Winn
Nigel Winn, Sutton-on-Sea, 2005.

Consequences

My contribution to a game of Consequences, part of the Social Science Imagination course. In memory of my Dad.

CW MILLS met NIGEL WINN on May 26th 2006  at home by his hospital bed, which was on loan.

CW MILLS SAID: I heard that you hated work, you never made any money, you laid bricks most of your life, you left school with no qualifications, you were constantly trying to reinvent yourself and now you are dying of cancer at 56. The world has failed you.

NIGEL WINN SAID: I  married my childhood love. I wrote poetry and a book no-one ever saw. I had children and friends. I danced naked in the garden with my love on the summer Solstice. I had little money and didn’t need much either. I went to University aged 50, got a 1st in English and became a lecturer aged 54. The cancer will take me quick. I’ve said goodbye. I am having visions of my mother and Queen Victoria and the flowers outside look so beautiful. Tomorrow I will die with dignity among people I love and who love me.

NIGEL WINN died the next day after drowning himself with a glass of water. His wife and children watched until the last breath.

THE CONSEQUENCES WERE:  NIGEL WINN’s sons dug his grave and buried him. People grieved. There was silence. Dignity. A prize in his name. Despite it all.

The Song

Two continents – two sons,

Leaves a father here contemplating

How time runs

Off and away with everything

We ever call our own

 

The time and tide that ebbs away

Taking the uncertainty of youth

To return one day,

With new grown men who stand and gaze,

Politely bemused, at figures once tall but now diminished

Since their being away.

 

And parents having to let go, yet still holding on,

To little boys they shaped and moulded

In days long gone,

Don’t always through their eyes

See the face the shape they recognise.

But sometimes with eyes closed, sons and parents both,

Recognise the song.

by Nigel Winn (1950-2006). Dated October 20th 1996.