Farewell to a Poet

Posted on 21 February 2011

In the midst of our travels, Rob and I heard that a friend had died – Jim Reed, one of Canada’s most respected investigative journalists who Rob had worked with many many years ago on W5.

Jim was a man who worried about the world, about war and poverty and injustice, who fell in love with Mary ST several years ago.

Whenever I pass through Toronto, I stay with Mary for a night because she is one of the most vibrant loving women I have ever met and moreover, we always have fun together. The last time I stayed, Jim was there. Politics, politics, politcs was all he talked about and then, probably after half an hour or so, he looked at me and said something to the effect that everyone must become involved or the world would never change. Apathy is unacceptable.

I was feeling pretty inadequate and ignorant when Mary gently reminded him that not everyone saw the world
as he did, that not everyone shared his passion.

“What are you passionate about,” Jim asked me.

I said the first thing that entered my mind – “poetry.”

“I can write a poem,” he said. “Give me fifteen minutes.” And he took himself off to Mary’s office in the garden and practically fifteen minutes to the second, I received an email from him with the following poem:

Real Love

Spring is the usual time for love. 
It can be new or old love renewed. 
But surely the season is the least of our reasons for thinking of love.
Right now the weather is cooling.
The birds have flown.
It’s time to reflect. 
When I was much younger, I thought poems were sucky.  
But now I’ve matured, it’s different. 
The onset of winter affects us.
We see things in a different, paler but clearer light. 
Reflection and thought let us see far more deeply.
That our world is beset by conflict, anger, hatred and greed. 
In so many ways – these days – we pay the price for past sins. 
The antidote for that is surely that most positive emotion. 
Real Love.

I laughed when I read it but now, as I reread it, with Jim’s reference to the seasons, “past sins”, and yes, to the world at large, I am struck by how insightful and poignant it is.

Fare thee well, good man.

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