Today is a sad day for me. This morning I got word an old college friend, Anne, passed away last week. A few years back, I wrote a poem in honour of her courage and dedication and I feel it’s only right to share it once more. Anne, Great Woman, rest in peace.



for Anne

not her going (it was coming a while)
but the manner of it
only what she stood in and a weekend bag for forever
that’s where the rest of my life is she said
and i’ll arrive with as little as i can
for i want to wage war with bare hands
sow reap share
and baggage would be baggage

honours languages girl
fierce mind to cut pretence first sentence
heart i’d have learned more from had i not been afraid
and mine more grown less promiscuous
she was plain white paper big print
and had no use for a world at her feet
that would force her in plastic directions

goody-goody fanciful extreme
i thought she’d last three months
une saison en enfer Sixties girl
unacquainted with hardship and daddy at her back
journeying with Rimbaud and Baudelaire
tilting at windmills in the original
can’t hack hunger and malaria dysentery and flies
and what does she know of planting?

forty years and never so much as a card
but now and then i read of a new clinic
a village with clean water a loan paid off
another school with books and desks
and see in a group snapshot a white-haired girl
with a smile to construct a continent

55 thoughts on “volunteer

  1. Condolences John ..Your honour of such a person does you credit and so seldom in today’s world …She sounds like a selfless volunteer and it warms my ❀️ that beautiful people like her and you still exist God Bless my friend and RIP Anne πŸ™

  2. Oh, John…real tears falling from my heart πŸ’œ Your words say so much…give us a clear picture of who she was and who she was not. How often we misjudge…
    Sending heartfelt sympathy to you, my friend. Much love and many blessings to touch your heart.

      • time is irrelevant to me John, it’s just always good to see you and you need to take measure to heal your heart and say your goodbyes, don’t forget to remember the good ❀ ❀ big hugs back at you my friend ❀

  3. My condolences to you John for the loss of your friend Anne. They are so few, those dear souls that seem to silently magically appear in our lives overwhelming us with their intense dedication and kindness to all. Selflessly reaching out to improve lives one act at a time, time after time. They give unparalleled love and compassion never asking anything in return, self motivated with deeds that move the hearts and souls of all they touch.

  4. Dearest John,

    Anne has left her footprint. Such a moving poem. A talented, driven woman, who used her gifts selflessly and fulfilled her vision.

    You have conjured up such a living image of Anne I clearly see her and feel great respect for her.

    With love.

    • Thank you, Dearest Angela
      and my apologies for being slow getting back to you.
      This loss hit me hard, the fourth personal loss this year.
      I can’t wait for this year to be over.

      Ever and Always


  5. John, I remember this poem very well. So sorry to hear that your dear friend Anne passed away. Anne has changed this world for the better. I have never met her but I have a great respect for her. May she rest in peace after all the good work she has done.

  6. Such a beautiful way to say goodbye, John. I love how you closed this tribute in fond memory. Anne was not one for pretense and that is truly exemplified in your signature style of writing. An individuals smile is so very telling and their life actions an even broader stroke and beauty to behold always.

    Warmest regards, as always, John

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