There are days, or more often nights, when one just needs poetry; words rather than music to soothe the savage breast.
On Friday, then Saturday and now today, Monday, I have heard the news of the death of three very different men, each of whom expressed both their interest in and concern about humanity as a whole better than most others I have known, and who exemplified, in themselves in very individual ways, the best of that humanity.
As an atheist I do not pity them that there is no afterlife. They no longer suffer. They no longer feel or know. And they did not “go gentle into that good night”. They fought for more time and continued to show their love and wonderment for this life of ours.
As a mere distant admirer of one, a recent friend of another, and a long term close professional contact of the third, I have not lost a loved one. There is not the exquisite pain of that.
There is just a huge, aching loss that the world and, selfishly, my personal world, has suffered a diminution. The universe is a lesser place with their passing.
To the memories of Nelson, Denis and Phil I affirm that I will try to integrate the lessons you have taught me into what is left of my life. I will see if my “frail deeds might dance in a green bay” some day ere I die and hope that those who come after me can have the opportunities and be given the yearning and wisdom to “see with blinding sight” as these good men each did in their own very different ways.
PS. As I typed these lines the following comment I made on one of Denis’s blogs unexpectedly made a rogue pasting here, “Denis…. I read your blog for your wonderful thoughts and words not apostrophe and typing perfection”, and I received a letter from Phil, penned last Friday, three days before his death today. Is it drawing too long a bow to say that was, to me, “their last wave by”?