Monday, July 15, 2013

"To the Poet, Too Soon" (Bob Ambrose, Jr.)

"To the Poet, Too Soon"
(Bob Ambrose)

On the passing of Aralee Strange, founder and host 
of the Athens Word of Mouth open poetry community,
June 15, 2013 at her home, "Timberdance"

Athens, Georgia
July 3, 2013

Oh, there will be words
Ms. Strange, not soon enough
there will be words –

Like all we love you left
too soon with sober words
of ‘splainin’ due, remembered

Words will conjure you
from some place primeval
where priestess holds court

Where rhythms take form
your spirit reborn as sirens sing
in sotto voice, the Sibyl raves

A praise to Gaia, long-mute furies
chant in tongues, and fiery nuns
rap truth to knaves. Yet none

Can name the kind of faith
that rocked your soul
in the bosom of Timberdance.

But it was a kind faith
that rolled through your late years,
submerging self to nurture words

In perfect strangers. Though
“Saint Strange” might strike the mind
as if ironic, I could cite

A sermonette, a sign or two,
a miracle, a lightening cure
to make your case for sainthood queue –

Does community count? Does soul 
suffice? Do street-tough hombres say 
their love in front of strangers?

Authentic poets never die,
they just transcend. Their words
become their epithath

Their thoughts a meme,
their spirits, muse. Unburdened
of body returned to the source,

To the place beyond words
where they go to be born,  
your essence awaits

In the first spring breeze
        that warms midwinter;

In the cool burst before the storm
        that breaks a drought;

In rock-strewn shoals that shatter
        flow, restoring rivers;

In early murmurs waking soul
        bestowing shivers. 

A brief note, held sweet
                against silence
echoes forever
        cathedrals of grace.

"To the Poet, Too Soon" by Bob Ambrose was originally performed at Word of Mouth, Athens, GA and appears online at the poet's blog. (Photo of Aralee Strange at Hendershot's, 2013.)

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