Sunday, July 16, 2023

Poem in Memory of Poet Andrew Burke

 Belated Elegy

You and I were never close, and likely

thought we knew each other better 

than we could. But we were

familiar with each other, and earlier

spent time in company.

You attended our wedding dinner.

We visited you. In the later

days of my addiction, you were

‘on call’ on two or three or four

occasions. You stayed with AA forever. 

Once an addict... remember.

We published your local poetry

collection, Pushing at Silence. And after

we escaped to Cambridge, there

was an exchange of emails about poetry

and form, about where prosody

might make meaning. 

                                             We can barely

have drifted apart when we were

never really alongside each other.

I felt you weren’t there when I was publicly

under pressure — a bet either

way, rather than ‘all in’, but really

I was searching for something

you were in no position to deliver.

Mea culpa. The lateral drift continuing.

But there was much in common.

And there were moments of wry

humour. I valued your poems celebrating

the everyday, jazz, poetry, the earth... and simply

being. I’ve said little since your passing, 

and now this demi-hymn...

to a friendship of sorts, but of a very

particular sort, wouldn’t you say?

Or would you respond in some jazzy meter: 

read slower... read slower... read slower.

John Kinsella

and see Tracy's elegy for Andrew here.