Canticle to Robin Williams
for Robin Williams (July 21,1951-August 11,2014)
'send not to know for whom the bell tolls'
'Nought but vast sorrow was there -
The sweet cheat gone'
-from Ghost, by Walter De La Mare
dreaming in colour with our eyes wide open
we thought we heard them say that you had fled
oh no oh no oh no we cried we cried we cried
the fool in motley wiser than all kings is dead
by his own hand and we the starless witnesses
and snows bled snows in summer shock by shock
in California, spreading clockwise fault line by
fault line: can't you make it disappear, sad conjurer,
dear robin, making amends?
but this, this the thing that can't be mended
by a sudden sortie of your hidden angels
fraught with the tinkling of bells on the jester's
cap, and doffed and doffed again, to us
as if we were royalty in a velvet box
convulsed with happiness zig-zagging
lightening quick, mercurial, ariel ariel
why, what- is this?
last seen at 10 p.m. on sunday night, and at home..
(yet not at home)
and the fairytale
decreed with its happy ending:
let it be 10 p.m. on a sunday always-
didn't it? or earth, earth has skipped its heartbeat;
honey ceased its sweetness,
captain crossing now, crossing the thin line-
rainbowed meridians, scarves pulled out of the hats
as if from the borealis, wonderful! and multifaceted,
the doves of extravagant wit flew up from the silk top
hats towards what, towards who, towards when you're
jumping off the shortest cliff of all, come back
come come back they must be wrong...
the laugh lines in the moons of distant planets dim-
oh were you Hamlet in the end, mad Lear-
the one we thought we knew send not to know
to know to know for whom the bell has tolled
has tolled has tolled has laughter ceased
and music spilling from the soul oh jigsaw piece
my favorite one! cried the child in us
is merriment weeping unregaled?
ah, Genie, out of the bottle murmured
o tenderest of clowns
we will not find you now.
the puzzle's strange without you
fretting upon no stage at all that we can see.
the hour was golden, seized,
but it has raveled.
dies, laughter on the lips of God for
this brief shining,
mary angela douglas 12 august 2014
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