Elegy for RJB


by Professor Robert Farnsworth

Except from within, your voice won't come to me again. Nothing
will whirl again from your hand and tilt down the air to my own.

We will not strive again together with our boys in the waters of summer.
Music we shared now begins and ends with silence. And you won't find

me here again, parked outside our children's school, spelling up some lines
toward presence -- these -- how will they ever find you? Your voice will

never come to me again. But I loved your whole approach, your keen ear,
your bright and level eye for the miracles of beauty and justice. I loved how

gracefully, sincerely you lived at the corner of Yes and No, of resolution
and inquiry, or across a bar table beside a loud, bright stage, shaking your

smiling head in grateful wonder, or at the edge of a northern island, where
out across the Atlantic we'd watch a vast moon, released from its silver path,

rise toward its actual eminence. Except from within, your voice will never
come to me again. So many lives will have broken upon your sudden going,

into until then and ever since. In one of these worlds your smile lingers
in a chord, the moon is hoisted halfway up the dark, and belief is forever

about to speak its strong, clear words. In the other, where you have finished
with resemblance, you begin in us resembling what you loved. In us. This,

then, must be how these words will find you, how they must try to make
those two worlds again cohere. In us. Oh, praise and wish and lamentation,

secret, question, laugh let them find you now. Let them lift the May moon
back above the island. Be there with me, now, friend. Speak with me again.


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