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Joel, God bless you,
You were wild,
as a March Hare
but brought a spring scent
of fine revelation
to that troubled winter
I first met you

I am thinking of the way
your talks were always
larger than their titles,
they were apprenticeships
to fate, dialogues with a destiny
always two steps ahead
of easy explanation.

On stage or at the table,
building a passionate theme
you made it personal,
something we had left or neglected,
something we could
if we had the nerve,
touch again, you moved us
through insight or insult,
you trusted friendship
exactly because you were
careless of it and knew
the same robustness that
could break a bond
could strengthen it
deepen it, reinvent it
and bind those who felt it.
Joel, I think I love more
than anything
a real conversation,
I will miss you,
you were untameable by the world
in which you worked
you stood at some frontier
we wanted for ourselves.
In my mind you stand there now
refusing to give up,
humorous but unbending
engaging God to understand
the nature of his betrayal.

We allow it of you because
you always did trust
that dangerous edge in conversation
the wild assertion, the sheer
"hell of it" nature of existence
You didn't care, exactly because
you cared too much.

Your passion was our privilege.
You were a Whitman
of your world and
I salute you and thank you
in the style necessary
to your faith. I imagine
you here in your old way
looking over my shoulder
to make a summary,
a last line, by way of parting.
Something, wild,
and true.

© 2002 David Whyte

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