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  • John M. Campbell

Big Shoes to Fill

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

I arrived in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England in the spring of 2009 to replace David Burke as he retired to Florida. David had spent a decade in his position, and his affable manner plus his intimate knowledge of the system we ran at the customer site made him a valued asset. As he introduced me to the team and the customer, I got to see him in action with both. It was a bit intimidating to see what I had in store for me to fill his shoes.


Big Shoes


He’ll be tough to replace when he’s gone from the Site.

He’ll be leaving a hole when he puts out his light.

And the next guy in line will be fighting uphill:

To replace David Burke, he’ll have big shoes to fill.


When I say “big,” I’m talking “huge.”

These shoes would fit Shaquille O’Neal,

Or be a baby’s bassinet.

These shoes, by right, should have a keel.


With shoes like these he walks on water:

No wonder he can do no wrong.

With shoes like these both he and Sally

Can paddle back where they belong.


And when they get to Florida

They’ll fill those shoes with sand,

And build a castle on the beach

To rival Disneyland.


So I’d ask David Burke, when he leaves us for good,

That he pack up his shoes any way that he could.

I am ready to pay extra fees on his flight,

If he takes his shoes with him, and out of my sight!


Best wishes for your retirement.

John M. Campbell

25 March 2009


Next Poem: A Man of Peace

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