In memory of John Figueroa
I had reached to lift my pen,
had my hand poised on the brink
of the act to write you when
death’s cold fingers gripped my wrist
and I felt my spirit sink
into sorrow’s grim amen.
Few knew of the stabs you took,
the wounds that bled uneased by
penitence. In grief’s logbook
I was shown several entries.
Still like a child you asked why
you were gored by rancour’s hook.
The world knew you loved cricket,
flailed in the thrall of the game,
so every slick hypocrite
ran up to the crease to bowl
flying bouncers your good name
could not steer from your wicket.
In your staunch faith you saw birth
follow death, remorse for sins
in the sign of the cross. Earth
has received no prophet more
unshaken that life begins
with beliefs to give it worth.
If now you sit with Horace
swapping odes; unpenitent
for making verse your mistress,
treat him by reading some lines,
let your voice go triumphant
with that timbre that came from grace.
But I know you would head for
St. John of the Cross whose quill,
for you, wrote the only law
to bind men, and in his light
see more of how moral will
pilots the soul to its shore.
Finally quests of the kind
you once set philosophy
Copyright © Cecil Gray