On the Death of John Heathcote-Williams

(Nov 15, 1941-July 1, 2017)


Prospero has left for another island

This man

This Englishman

Has written his last jibe

His last brilliant riposte

His last act of compassionate awareness

The pain we feel

For the death of any sentient being

Is multiplied a thousand fold here

Whales in the vast ocean

Were safer when he was alive

So too


The great beasts that roam the earth

Prospero has renounced his magic

Once again

As he sails forth

Into another dimension

Will there be fools and scoundrels there

As there are here?

Will they rest easier

Because his body no longer walks “in England’s green & pleasant land”?

Spirit is multiple

We know that whatever else we know

We know it spreads

From mind to mind:

The sons of bitches

Whom he called out

Will be called out by others

In his name

Prospero lives

Heathcote lives

Because he lived

And spoke

And acted

And made clear

What others saw as only mist.

This man

Of swinging London

This man

Of old aristocracy

This man

Of clarity and understanding.

We all die and know

Our life is only a leaf in the wind.

He knew it too

And said to Death:

I live for Truth

For Passion

For the Imagination

One finds

In whales

And bees

And beasts

In sentient beings all—


And for

The Life

Of Love.



R.I.P. Heathcote Williams

Jack Foley

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