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Saturday, 26 November 2011

The shy man was absent - Chris Faiers (poem for Ray Souster)

The shy man was absent

(Raymond Souster Tribute, Nov. 22, 2011)

The shy man was absent
from his own poetry tribute
sixty plus of us crammed
the second floor of Runnymede Library
the shy man's bookish retreat
for most of his 90 years

The shy man's imprint was Contact
(irony universal in poetry's ascent)

he made contact with poetry readings
poetry magazines and poetry organizations
poetry of the best, by the best
but poetry for everyone

The shy man slipped his teller's cage
miraculously to birth, with a few close friends
the modern age of Canadian poetry

A bank teller, for God's sake
who never swore, womanized
stole a dime, overwrote a line
Will he even show up for his own funeral?
will we file past an empty casket
the shy man busy elsewhere, composing perhaps

When the shy man passes
to join his legion of friends
in the Canuck poetry pantheon
we earthbound ones will need
a statue or two
to fix his shy spirit a place

beside bronze Al in Queen's Park?
(Al shy? - all poets are shy)
or comfortable yards apart
from an even shyer genius
Glen on his permanent bench
outside CBC quarters?

until the time of bust in bronze
poet after poet visits Ray
in a nursing home just around
Runnymede's comfortable corner 
But tonight the shy man's legacy connects
a tribal gathering of poets his tribute
       not one empty chair

Chris Faiers
Pape and Queen
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nov. 25, 2011

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