One Year To The Day


                                      For Niall McDevitt


Dear Niall, we cannot measure the thoughts that would have been
In your mind at those moments when you glimpsed the glare
From those places where metre and rhyme do not stray.

You became your own poem, then, bid by your beloved Blake
To walk with him and to walk wisely, keeping your counsel
As well as the judgement of a lesser man’s fears well at bay.

While death’s tide drew you back from the scented shore
Shared with Julie, to something more sainted, that ephemeral
State where the rain is made entirely of words; that poetry

Found in far thunder, in which the sky reshapes as it swallows
The spirits and smiles that trounced pain. You made sure
This would be, both with dignity and seclusion. Keeping pain

Private and away from the eyes which would pry
And not understand the reason or rhyme for decisions;
Particularly as the blank verse of grieving does not read

The elision and near iambic exeunt as we die.
That steady beat houses hearts and the classicism
You mastered. Now, those who follow must learn to read

Their own charts, cataloguing their fears and erstwhile
Shortcomings, while travelling still, your lines lengthen
As your illuminate death’s dark art. You read life’s last page

One year ago as I write this. The 29th of September 2022:
Your deadline in which you were forced to deliver yourself
And tragically soon for an author, and for a man whose strength

And charisma and whose written work will align
With the best of any we know, from Bill to Lee, Johns
To Heathcote, Michael and Percy, Sydney, George, Oscar,

Sam: that pride of poets for whom the captured word
Calmed all chaos, which has surmounted since. Beyond silence
Each wave reforms at death’s dam, creating new life

And Niall, you were your own irish ocean. Your own pure stream
We swim slowly as you show us the esprit de corps to retain.
I refer to those who truly knew you and shared each precious

Part of your journey. We should each ask ourselves to what
Limits, and to what degree did we tread in either shadow,
Or light. Niall, you braved them both. I remember. As does

Your beloved and those you sought to grace. Is death dead?
Or just another translation perhaps into some myth-marked
Unknown language. You can speak it now. Teach us.

As you did in gold or suede shoes. We still follow. Saturday
Sees this published. Yet Julie’s year of tears will still shine.
She is a Goldsmith after all, and you are such stuff sent

For sifting. We smile and frown, friend, downcast,
Yet uplifted. And so you are found once more.

                                 Let love climb.




                                                                                        David Erdos 29/9/23 




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