Wednesday, October 09, 2013

In memoriam Dave King

My online poetry friend Dave King has passed over. (Thanks to our mutual friend Jim Murdoch for letting us know.)

This is very sad news. I will miss Dave, as will everyone else who got to know him. I can only speak for his friends online, many of whom became his friends, like myself, because of shared interests in art, poetry, and writing. My sincere condolences go out to his family and friends, and I will be keeping them in my thoughts.

Dave King was a prolific poet, and maintained a long-running blog called Pics and Poems that contained poetry, art criticism and appreciation, memoir, random bits of witty writing, and many close observations of people and nature. Dave's ability to observe and report was something I appreciated immensely.

One of the things that we bonded on was the history of art, of painting in particular, and its multimedia stepchild, ekphrastic poetry, which is poetry about visual art. Dave was sometimes very keen on the photographs I post on this blog, which regular readers know have often spawned haiku or other short poems.

There was always something cheerful about Dave's writing, as well as his online correspondence, that conveyed an unending wonder taken by observing the natural and human world. We commented on each other's blogs, critiqued each other's poems, and once or twice we communicated back and forth as though we were writing letters that were all short poems. More than once he produced a poem, or a comment, that made me laugh when I most needed it.

We shared a love of haiku. His were often funny and observational, mine a little more classically austere.

We also shared a love of writing about nature, and writing inspired by nature. One of our back-and-forth poem trades was haiku about the changing seasons.

We introduced to each other some writers we each liked, especially on the topic of creative nonfiction about nature. A few of these became writers that we equally treasured.

I will miss you, Dave. Have a safe journey, my friend.

The best eulogy I can think of is a poem.

Sometime in early autumn,
the tall tear trees wrap themselves
in wind and sunlight

now paling from summer's height,
thinner and complex,
bristles of a brush,

as though each leaf was endless.
Bones and blades and leaves. It seems
each brushstroke flicks out

past the page's defined edges
as though continued
past where the ink leaves

and subsumes itself in light,
much as we depart, unfinished
selves in the making.

Long strokes of wind make trees bow
low towards the sun.
I hear you smiling

out there somewhere in this light.

(for Dave King)

(Part of the homage in this poem is that it's inspired by some of what we shared and enjoyed. The form is a modified renga, or chain of haiku; note the syllable count. Another part of the homage here is that I went back and looked through some of Dave's comments; a poem and artwork of mine that he particularly liked got me going here. )

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