What was already the shittiest week in recent memory was topped off today with the news that a dear friend of mine and missus c. had lost his life, suddenly and unexpectedly.
We often gush about the newly-lost, but I always gushed about this guy, as did everyone who knew him. He was a man of great accomplishment and great generosity; he would walk a mile out of his way to help an acquaintance, for a friend it would be ten miles in hard country. So tonight I leave you with a bit of Auden. Overplayed since it was featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral, yes, but still a beautiful expression of raw grief:
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
It's not true, of course. The clocks are never stopped, the moon is never put out, the world winds on in its indifferent manner with or without any of us. But that feels wrong.
So tonight the missus and I packed up a little picnic dinner, lobster rolls and cole slaw and chips and beer, and wandered down to the seaside and ate and toasted his name, and smiled and cried under the September half-moon.
Thanks for listening, friends.