This is a poem I wrote on the death of my friend Dick Johnson, who died some years ago.
Sonnet for Dick
My friend looked very beautiful propped on his pillows.
Gently downward tended his dreaming head,
His lean face washed as by underlight of willows
And everything right as rain except he was dead.
So brave in his dying, my friend both kind and clever,
And a useful Number Six who could whack it about.
I have described the man to whomsoever
The hell I’ve encountered, wandering in and out
Of gaps in the traffic and Hammersmith Irish boozers,
Crying, where and why did Dick Johnson go?
And none of the carloads and none of the boozer users,
Though full up with love and with cameraderie, know
More than us all-of-his-others, assembled to grieve
Dick who, brave as he lived things, took his leave.
from Hoping it Might be So (Leviathan, 2000), copyright Kit Wright 2000, used by permission of the author