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On Cowee Ridge

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December 13, 1993 

John Gordon Boyd
died on the birthday
of three remarkable, and remarkably different, writers:
Heinrich Heine, Kenneth Patchen, Ross McDonald
John, too, was just as remarkable, blessed with an inherent “graciousness”
and with extraordinary eyes & ears…
I think of two texts
on the grievous occasion of his death:
“Religion does not help me.
The faith that others give to what is unseen,
I give to what I can touch, and look at.
My Gods dwell in temples
made with hands.”
   Oscar Wilde, in De Profundis
and two lines in Rainier Maria Rilke,
John’s favorite poet,
that say it all…
Was tun Sie, Gott,
Wenn ich bin stürbe?
“What will you do,
God, when I am dead?”

Jonathan Williams, "On Cowee Ridge" from Jubilant Thicket: New & Selected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by Jonathan Williams.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.
Source: Jubilant Thicket: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)
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On Cowee Ridge

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