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1950 - 2004
Light a candle for Jack...
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This is a poem for Jack, but it is not about Jack.  
I always used to call him when I finished a poem, to ask him what he thought of it.  On the night I wrote this one I reached for the phone, but of course I couldn't call him.  But I read it to him anyway, because I think it would have made him laugh...
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One moment in a long list of others

The best and last thing that happened to me
Was hooking a tiny book in the sea.
The little letters gasped for breath,
Took one look at my face and said –

“Father, Father – what you need to know
Will never cross the path you sow.
The hills you climb, the things you do,
The winds you brave are not meant for you!

Go forth and cast aside your tales
Of drunken fish and bloated whales.
Of needs succumbed when those needs must,
Of life to rock, and rock to dust.

Be still and quiet as the void,
Ignoring voices paranoid.
Avoid all transport – wheeled or same,
Steer clear of the afflicted, crazy, the lame.

Spend forthright nothing, eat but bare,
Hunt others’ insults with your snare.
Cut out laughter, wine and song,
Embrace the right, and banish the wrong.

Father, this is the way it must be –
How lucky you finally found the right sea!”

I gripped the tiny book with thumb
And finger so tight they went numb.
Those little words said what they’d said
And prepared to scale my hand instead.

But as they poised themselves to leap,
My mind flicked on, awoke from sleep –
This book was sounding like my mother –
So I threw it back, to catch another.
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Jack Shea