Winter, 2003

Steve Goldman


Passing: A Lineage of Trees

When Bill Margolis died
John Thomas called him
A tree
In the forest
To whom death had come
In the manner of a woodsman
And "topped him".

And when John Thomas died
Raindog called him
A tree
A mighty standing oak
Bigger than death
Whom death could only whittle down
Chip by chip, one branch at a time
And only then
Gain access
Splitting the trunk.

This is the beginning of the passing
Of an era,
But only a shifting phase
Along the arc
Of return
Of an eternal
And one
- O reverence -
For the good.
Now that
The Mendicant Troubadour
Rolls no more
And the great
Baltimore Foghorn
Is silenced,
May I gratefully report
That I cannot
See the forest
For the trees.

Note: The late Beat poets, John Thomas,
and William Margolis, who was confined to a wheelchair,
died recently within a few years of each other.