for Jay, most luminous of corvids
If you will, please go back to the very first post of this blog, and note the date on the poem there. Here’s a link:
3 June 2014
I told just a bit about the story at the heart of this blog a few days later:
6 June 6 2014
Now I am come to the sad place of telling how the story I alluded to ended, at least for the time being. In the summer of 2012, I read a blog post by a poet I had recently discovered and found interesting for the depth of his work. He had had a vision, and the words in which he described it were almost the same as mine, describing a vision of my own that came a decade or more earlier. I found my old text file recording the experience, and sent it to him. He wrote back, It’s tempting to think it’s the same place, yes. A little over a year later, when I was pressing for a face-to-face meeting (we lived continents apart), he was diagnosed with brain cancer. I learned this during a visit with my family. Immediately after going home, my mother died; during my return visit for her funeral service, I was told that my friend had been given a terminal diagnosis, and might be expected to last 15-22 months. After a few weeks’ discussion with him and his son, I traveled to my friend’s home country to be with him. He was so ill. So ill, after eight days his family decided he should not have visitors. They maintained that position afterwards, so I never saw him again.
We were and are both very intuitive and very highly trained to work with our intuition. We had had out-of-body meetings before, so these continued. One night, last April, I woke up with such a strong sense of his presence—stronger than ever before. I thought, that’s it, he’s passed over. I reached for the notebook I keep by my bed, and noted his name and the date. And yet, it was too soon. His doctors told him to expect as much as another year. I was confused, so I wrote it down, but did not trust it. An obituary online would prove it, so I searched, but found nothing. I must have misunderstood. We were so close that I really could not tell which side he might be on.
Just a few days ago I searched again, and there it was, a memorial page his family posted. My beloved friend died half a year ago, only nine months after his diagnosis. Immediately, so many things fell into place. This is distressing, and yet I want to share it, because it turns out that we have lived a very good and hopeful story in the face of so much pain. I have to tell you, it is rainy autumn where I am, and I have had no flowers in the place for ages, but this room is now suddenly filled with the fragrance of lilies. Anyway, this is from the letter I sent to a friend night before last:
”Before I left to see him, I found a silk scarf in a thrift store in NC that was printed with white dogflower on a background of green, gold, and purple–Easter imagery, and colors. I took it with me to Ireland. While I was there, one time he was very distraught, so I gave him the scarf, telling him, Remember, Easter will come. Your mind will lie to you and tell you pain is all there’s ever been, but time is still moving, and Easter will come, I swear.
I knew he held more or less Christian beliefs, although very much more mystical than most. When I said Easter, I meant spring, renewal, and joy. I wasn’t thinking about it. Last spring, one night I woke up with the strongest sense that he was present, and I told myself, that’s it, he’s passed. I always keep a notebook and pen by my bed. I wrote his name and the date in it, knowing I’d want a record. After that, I searched online for an obituary or any news, but there was never anything. Not until yesterday. I searched again, and found a memorial page his family left up online.
Easter this year was April 20th. He died on April 23rd. His visit to me came on April 27th. His funeral was April 28th.
When I was with him in the hospital and he was so distressed, he kept trying to ask me something, and I knew it was to pray for his deliverance. He was suffering so, and was ready to be quit of this world. I couldn’t do it, but I did pray for–you know, thy will, and for it to come easy. I can’t help but think that by naming Easter, I was showing him a landmark, a goal. Please hold out until then, perhaps. Neither of us wanted him to suffer, but he also did not want to have to leave his children sooner than need be.”
Now, if you will, please note again the date of the first poem I published in this blog. This came for him as soon as I knew:
25 October 2014
My Love, at Love’s Last Door
Jay Landar, 1955-2014
The far and slightly broken other window lay ajar all night,
and when I woke, the floor was wet, the bed was wet, I looked a fright;
I sought out then a kinder mirror, and it showed me ghostly signs.
When I lie alone and go to sleep again, I shan’t; the lines
are drawn between your present world and mine, and yet they’re lines so thin,
I scarcely move my eyes and all dissolves away. My sighings spin
a web of subtle dancing on which such fine tender touches light,
I dare not close my inner eyes one moment lest I lose the sight
your precious high and holy spirit seeks to show me, Lord my own.
Then was spring and now is autumn, falling time, and I’ve but sown
my own last season. I’ve no future; I’ve lived all this time to sing
the musics that have given me your gaze, your voice, your hand, your—wing—
and now I’ll have to walk and sing alone, and fly—or maybe not.
Love who’s only laid aside a weak false sense of time, one thought
from you for me will turn the tangled lines that spin me inside-out,
and then I’ll have arisen, ghostly, one huge soul my own—no doubt.
You’ll have gone before me and alongside every breath; the air
we live and breathe is music, and it has been since the dawn’s one fair
and gentle premonition we were granted, and allowed to breed.
Even past the last door, where the window’s broken, love sets seed.