A friend of ours, Dean Perkins, of Barnes, Kansas, passed away last week. There have been too many good people dying lately, and his loss is a blow to a great many people. I knew him only a little, but that was enough to make me a lifelong friend to Dean. He was that way, which is why so many people came to his funeral. As it is, he's in a far better place now.
I know his wife, Idana, and his daughter, Melodie, much better, the former through working at the newspaper and the latter because she's my boss at Georgia-Pacific. Both are very special ladies.
As I composed a letter of condolence, a poem came to me. That such a thing could happen is unheard of. Prior to this I had written exactly one poem, and it embarrassed both me and my wife, so I had given up on the craft and stuck to prose. And here was this thing trying to get out of me and at first I fought it and then I relented and let the pen skip over the page and do its duty.
I am not a poet. The iambic pentameter or whatever might be skewed, and if it is, so be it. This is simply what came to me as I remembered a man I faintly knew but who had befriended my wife, and in my book that made him my friend as well. Dean will be missed, but his memory will live on.
Death is not final
It is a bridge.
A life is not lost
But like a lake’s surface when struck with a stone
Transforms into a watery ripple that sets out on a journey—
Not alone, never alone—
There is a moment of displacement,
And in the silence that follows
the waves radiate outward on a path
never before taken
and echo and echo
on that far shore.