30 March 2011

To Sherry


“Friends are the family we choose.” –Edna Buchanan

The melody is easy. The hard part
Is finding harmony along the line
And making every part sound true and fine
And pulling them together—there’s an art.
I see you in that Blanco Canyon sun
And hear you tuning up to sing again—
It’s time to get to work, to pick and grin,
And sing and play until the fire is done.
The sun rose there like liquid silver shimmer,
We heard the bell ring out its one-note tune.
All day and evening, singing with the moon,
And deep cool sleep until the next dawn’s glimmer.
The melody is easy, we agree,
But only you could do the harmony.

Desert silv’ry blue beneath the pale starlight,
Baby owlet singing as dawn shines above.
‘Twas on a summer evening we walked the forest through.
And who can separate from dear friends without a single tear?

You led because you loved it all so dearly,
And that made other people stop and care.
There was no challenge that you failed to dare,
There was no song you couldn’t sing so clearly.
We faced the storms and wind and sudden showers,
And laughed about it when it all was done.
I really don’t believe your race has run.
I’ll always think of you when first spring flowers.
But the way you harmonized still gives me awe.
It’s a gift that very few now have or know.
To make the high part work by singing low?
You were the best at it I ever saw.
You made me sound good on the melody
Because only you could do the harmony.

Music alone shall live, never to die.
Show to us beauty, vision and joy.
You can hear the whistle blow five hundred miles.
For the river calls, and the roads call, and, oh, the call of the birds.

The fiddle sounds wrong with no soft guitar.
No one tells the stories like you do,
And friends like you will always be too few
And now the distance is so very far.
I was on an icy bridge—it made me shiver—
Trying to make sense of your light leaving,
Watching cranes rise, choking up with grieving,
And heard “Peace, I ask of thee, o river”
As clearly as if you were there and singing,
Reminding me that we honor you by living.
I’ll light a candle in the early evening
And in the morning I’ll be out and giving.
It’s the way you lived, and I think that all agree
That you made everyone sing in harmony.

Dona nobis pacem, our dear friend.
This time, you take the high notes—we’ll chime in.

From Sontsi
March 2011

1 comment:

Julie Piland said...

This is just beautiful. I knew Sherry through golf - she in Austin and I in Arlington, both in EWGA - and only saw her a couple of times a year. What a delight she was! And now, through this wonderful CaringBridge website, I'm learning that Sherry was so multi-talented and touched people wherever she went. May I pass your poem on to others who knew Sherry?
Thank you and God bless you,
Julie Piland