Growing, he saw his friends increase
   Their incomes, houses, families,
   And saw this growth as a disease
Nothing but unpossessive love could cure.
Possessing nothing, he was not possessed
   By things or people, as we are.
   His granite chimney breast
Warmed friend or stranger at its open fire.
   There was no air
   Too foul for him to breathe, no pit
   Too dark to enter, yet
His very breathing made the foul air pure,
His presence made the darkest day feel clear.

He lived at the hub and not the rim
   Of time. Within himself he moved
Deeper toward dangerous ideas he loved
   To moot with bodily risk:
   Flying too close to the sun’s disk,
Sailing at night over a coral reef,
   Ghosting a thief’s life.
   Since he’s gone
No words of mine can rivet him to one
Role of some forty-nine he used to play
   For pleasure more than pay.
Because his kind of love taught me to live
   His dying I forgive.

This Issue

October 11, 1979