Remembering Mark O’Donnell
On August 6, 2012, an old friend, Mark O’Donnell, collapsed and died suddenly of a heart attack. He was only 58. You can read more about him here, in a tribute written by his twin brother, Steve.
I had a lot of trouble accepting that he was gone, until another friend sent me the following poem, which was read by his sister at his funeral. I needed to hear it from Mark himself, I guess, in his own voice. So kind of Mark to write this, and in the end, console his own mourners. He was one of the kindest people I have ever met.
The fruit surrenders to the ground.
The wind must spread old news around.
The living shrink into their trees
to genuflect to earth’s disease.
The snow that falls conceals the fruit.
Its reticence is absolute.
What summer ruins or improves
the snow’s amnesia removes.
The globe tilts sheepish in its path
around the sun’s potential wrath,
so snow concedes to hungry things
again. The trees call back their wings.
The earth maintains its lexicon.
The orchards avenues go on –
the boundless code bound in the cell,
the sea heard rushing in the shell.
There is no end of ending days.
Love never dies, love never stays.
New hillsides feel the old surprise.
Love never stays, love never dies.