016_imogen-cunningham_theredlistIn the other place of keeping
afterward when door is softly closed
and light extinguished
where flowers bloom without need of sun
perfuming air with unseen stamen
at last you are unburdened, free of torment
we sit at oiled wood table
eating buttered toast with fingertips
you tell me of  real things
that time you fell into a river as
you reached for tires swinging overhead
just one more inch and you’d have been saved
from submerging with oily fish
and yet you say, it taught you
the value of sinking and how quiet
beneath the world can be
where creatures with opaque eyes glide past
watching you try to breathe
they called it a near drowning
you claimed second-sight
we shuffle our checkers, mindful
it’s your turn to win tonight
 
for Paul
you were a brother of sorts
sprinting ahead of jostling crowd
lean and bronzed by effort
your heart a flutter of machination
once you said, now I am old
and I laughed and reminded you
there’s so much time left
except you knew
and I did not
time can collapse upon itself
just as it begins so it can end
all the days we spent waiting for the next
better to live now and climb
that tree to sling rope and dangle seat
children long after us
will come to the river and watch
each others fear and then wonder
jumping into the void
and as you are gone
I clear away the plates and ready for the next day
not sure it will be free of rain
I hear you outside among the trees
you are laughing at me
for my fear of things I cannot know
remember, you say, it’s not about control
it’s about having the courage to try
I watch you walk toward the river
you are straight and lean again
no scars, no pain cross your way
I want to go with you but you have told me
it is not yet time
we’ll play again, be patient
master this moment
live now in the warm rush of water
watching overhead
moving clouds turning from blue to white
and then to grey
 
For Paul. You counted, and you mattered.
 

0 Replies to “For Paul”

  1. What a beautiful, reverent and compassionate tribute. I didn’t know him but I can tell from those left behind that his presence, his life had impact. Meaning. We know a man by the quality of his friends.

    1. I didn’t know everything that was happening to him, we began talking a long time ago, mostly about our-era stuff like films, books, politics, he was very smart, people didn’t know that about him they only saw a good-looking coach who was physically inclined, I knew he had heart-issues, we talked about that as we both do, I didn’t know he was that unwell physically though he was having a lot of tests. I also knew he had some type of delusion-disorder, wasn’t sure what was and was not true, but suspected some of it was a persecution complex, even so with the mental struggles Paul had, he always seemed to care for others and help them. I know he may have mistreated people also in his disorder, but his heart was good. I think he lost a lot of people due to his erratic behavior. It is another reason people need to be more compassionate around mental health, it’s always a struggle, never easy, and often results in premature death. My heart is heavy. Thank you C.

  2. I notice how much you mention ‘heart’ in your last reply. Paul had heart problems, but he had a good heart, and now your heart is heavy. It all comes back to heart, compassion and understanding. A moving tribute to your friend.

    1. Excellent observation my oracle-girl, you are right. It does all come back to heart. You have inspired me to write about that (how many times is it now? Will I pay you remit for those gems?) xo

  3. I’m moved by this tribute, C. I think you were a very good friend to Paul. I didn’t really know him at all, but I think I may know enough about you to know that this must surely be true. 🙂

    1. Dear Roslin, thank you so much! I believe all the love and emotion sent out into the cosmos he will feel or at least I hope so. Thank you for your compassion and reading this.

      1. When you cross you leave your body behind so that suffering ends. I’m sure he is immersed in love at this moment. Yes when we are taken there is no set age for coming home. Stay well my friend. <3

  4. Paul would have definitely reblogged this one.
    Life is such a paradox… it can be so tenuous and tenacious at the same time.
    At the risk of sounding redundant, this really is a beautiful tribute for your friend. ღ

  5. A touching tribute which is especially moving to me having just lost my son two weeks ago. I can resonate with the pain you’re going through and send my condolences. And I do think it’s true, that they’re still here in spirit wanting us to be happy and remember the good times. And as you suggest they’re full of love, joy and compassion. But oh, I know how it hurts, how it leaves a void. Love to you during this difficult time.

    1. Dearest Betty, it’s not my pain my friend i just wanted to highlight Paul. I had no idea you lost your son and I’m so very, very sorry. It’s impossible to say anything meaningful other than i wish i could give you a hug because words won’t do. You are a lovely soul I would never wish you or anyone to go through something like losing a son, that just is not right, and i do not understand the world at times because of that. Please know i am sending you my love, humble though it is, and support and hopes you have loved ones supporting you through in some way though I know it is never enough. ♡

  6. Oh dear, that made me cry, and it’s only 7am here in Oz & I need to go to work soon! An amazingly delicate yet profound tribute, well done & thank you, G 💙

  7. what a perfect tribute.
    ‘it taught you
    the value of sinking and how quiet
    beneath the world can be’
    my favourite lines. simply exquisite and beautifully sad.

      1. You cared deeply and have good and bad memories. I think sometimes about my dead family members, what we did, just memories. I don’t make a habit of, My past is the past, not wanting to visit. I’ve written many post of the trauma in my life, it doesn’t feel like It’s me. I share for others, I’m 53 and worked most of my issues. I want others who haven’t gone that path to stop and think. I looked at several post written 2014 and will repost, there horrible but someone out there is feeling the same.
        Love you work.
        M

  8. Amazingly beautiful, C. I send my condolences on your loss. Thank goodness we have writing to express ourselves during times such as these. <3

  9. I am deeply sorry for your loss. I don’t know him, but after reading your poem I felt like I had a tiny glimpse of his strength and kindness. Thank you.

  10. A very heartfelt connection Candice, because you can ‘see’ what was really inside the struggle that he was going through. Your words expressed that beautifully, and showed great compassion in that understanding.

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