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Eulogy For a Friend

His name was Noble,
fitting for his character,
a big man poured dark
into a uniform
eternally a size too small,
his grip engulfing whenever
we shook hands,
but never hurtful.

He guarded us on graveyard shift,
watching every night
framed by our always-open door
even in the coldest times,
and strolling all the
lengthy paths of busy warehouse
narrow between racks and pallets,
ever watchful of and for us.

In those moments when
I needed air, succour
from staring endlessly at screens
or nightmare moments
of a million dollars' worth
of wine and booze
suddenly not loading
he was always there,
encouraging and calm,

rumbled laughter never far
from brilliant smile in ebony face,
simple and yet learned,
wise with life
and old discriminations
patiently endured,
always with a constant merriment
close behind his watchful eyes.

We would speak of race,
our kids and wives,
our homes and lives,
politics and religion,
discrimination and redemption,
cooking pots of collard greens and voting,
swapping recipies and stories
of the stupid things we did
that should have killed us
in our youth.

He is gone now,
taken without warning,
yet though a heavy piece
of my own sadness
goes with him to the heaven
he believed in
with every ounce of faith he had,
I am proud I knew him
all these years,
and prouder still
that he called me his friend.

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
[This option has been removed]
Last few words: 
Rest now, my good friend, and walk beside your God.
Editing stage: 

Comments

Sorry for your losing a friend. I picture him smiling over your shoulder as you wrote this thinking you'd over praised him..............stan

he probably is, but this is what he was, to me.
Thanks for making me smile today, my friend.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

my respects to you, but he is not gone. he lives inside of you and the beautiful picture of his life (or at lease the one you knew) you have written here. respect to you my friend for remembering a dear friend.
Eddie

LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS
IT'S ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN.
VIVIAN GREENE

it's good to see you back.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

sorry to know about the loss of a dear friend and i can make out from your Eulogy that he was a great human being besides being your friend...wih\shing his soul God speed and for eternal peace...

warmly..

raj (sublime_ocean)

for your kind words

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

fine tribute to a someone who seems
to have been a man of substance

i like that you have not written of any maudlin,
self indulgent grieving, but rather, have paid
homage to he who was your friend, by letting readers
know some things of him, and of some things that made
up your friendship

i know you have said
"I want the raw truth..." etc, but i'm still
hesitant to offer anything in the way of crit
when a write is of this personal a nature,
i'm always hesitant

if you would like, i will certainly offer my thoughts,
and if you're happy with this as is,
that's completely fine

cheers
p

Go ahead, suggest, its OK

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

ok, thanks

very minor tweaks ...

His name was Noble,
fitting for his character,
a big man poured dark [ omitted "wide" ]
into a uniform
eternally a size too small,
his grip engulfing whenever
we shook hands

[is "but never hurtful" necessary?]

He guarded us on graveyard shift,
watching every night
framed by our always-open door

[ i dropped "framed" to the next line, as
i assumed you meant he was framed
in the door-way ..."framed" after "night"
read to me, as the night was framed ]

and prouder still
he called me friend.

[ omitted "that" and "his" ...read a little more
poignant to me, without those words ]

just my thoughts jim ...use or lose

on re-reading this. i am again impressed
by what a fine tribute poem this is

you really do give your reader
a tangible sense of Noble ...

thank you

cheers
p

I used some, it makes sense. Some I left, for personal reasons.
:) Time and distance always focus the lens of objectivity, even in this.
Thanks again.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

It's always hard to lose a friend, I have lost a couple already this year. This is a fine piece to him and I felt like I was watching a movie play out, I don't like critiquing these type of personal pieces as they are raw memories and perhaps need to come out onto paper the way they fall. Please accept my condolences. I am sure he would smile at this poem.

Chez
"The perfect woman perpetrates literature as she does a small sin: as an experiment, in passing, to see if anybody notices it - and to makes sure that somebody does." - Nietzsche

I think he would too.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

This is an incredible stirring write for your friend and companion. These lines moved me especially:

He is gone now,
taken without warning,
yet though a heavy piece
of my own sadness
goes with him to the heaven
he believed in
with every ounce of faith he had,
I am proud I knew him
all these years,
and prouder still
that he called me his friend.

love, Cat

"The Book of Styx" can be ordered and purchased on line at:
http://eddystyx.mythramuse.com/

For reading and enjoying.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

I'm very glad that you enjoyed it so much.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

First, sorry for your loss it is always difficult to lose those that matter.

What I enjoyed about this, was the conversational feel to the piece. Its as if I were sitting in front of you and you were actually speaking your memories.

♥ Melissa

I have lost more than one friend, it is always painful. But Noble went without warning, and shocked all of us.
I'm often a storyteller, when I write poems, I guess that's just the way I'm wired!

Glad that you enjoyed this so much.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

Thanks hun.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

LOL

All human actions are ultimately driven by selfishness!

Thanks for reading.

It's always hard to lose someone close, it happens to all of us in our lives. For me the trick is to remember them as they were, and know that they are still around, even if its only in my heart and mind. And I would rather feel the sadness of loss, than have not ever known them.
But, that's just me.

I've reached the pooint in my life when I realize that those of my own age will not be around forever, and that there is nothing that can be done to stop the process. But that's OK, I'd still rather have known a bunch of very amazing people, than not.

Glad you enjoyed this one, Rosina.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

Its always tough to lose a loved one, human or other. With pets I discovered a long time ago - I'm a cat person, I won't have a home without a cat - is that when they die, you get another. It sounds callous, but it isn't: there's nothing you can do about such a death, except get another pet, and give it the love you gave the others. I have a dog now too - the kids and my wife all wanted one - and so I am a dog-lover now, too! And I fully expect to get another, when this one finally passes.
Works for me.
And thanks for the luck, Glaswegian Lady.
I need it! heehee

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

I don't dwell on death, and I almost never grieve. I find it selfish, and silly, as I know that those who pass find release, and rest, and all questions answered.
But I miss my friend.

I did find some release, in this. Thank you.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

He's here in thought and mind.
And also he will return now and then, to look in on his family, and maybe stop by to say hello to friends as well.
Glad you enjoyed this one.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment
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