not the one I had thought:
My old friend Stuart died yesterday
Four days after receiving a life saving
Bone marrow transplant,
For which his body had been conditioned
By 8 months of chemotherapy,
So the doctors are understandably
Mystified. Like many of our generation
He had emulated Peter Pan
By jumping off stairs and low walls
And once he felt his arc pause,
Lift even, with the promise of flight,
But then no, he fell to earth just like Icarus.
Like many of us he too had run around the neighborhood
A towel pinned to his shoulders flying behind
As he performed superior acts.
He used a large impressive bath towel
Until his mother discovered that
And made him use a dish towel,
Quite unsuitable for the flying he must do.
He would give that up soon enough anyway
For he was bright and good with numbers
And followed a dream to university.
His family sent him off with the traditional blessing,
Don’t get too big for your britches
Or forget our Christian ways, and he did not get too big
Nor forget though he did change and grow
To become an engineer of modern times,
A Daedalus of water flows for all citizens to enjoy,
a kind and good man, thorough and by the book.
I don’t know why his first marriage failed;
Probably someone came to their senses as they usually do.
I do know at last he loved Fran and worked hard,
Maybe too hard, for their life together,
And he loved music, old school like Guy Clark,
And he practiced his own guitar and worked at songwriting
With all due diligence as was his way. Last spring
He retired, breathless, mysteriously low on energy,
But with rest knowing his songs would come out.
The next week they figured out his diagnosis:
MDS developing maybe over 2-3 years
Had finally blossomed into a flower of collapse.
He died yesterday, two days before family and doctors
Had planned to pull the plug on life support
To give time for good-byes,
A line of friends coming in the room sadly
To take their leave, but with age
A mystical form evolves bone deep
And I guess he figured out that flying up and away
Was not as complicated as he once had dreamed.