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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Marvin in Biblioheaven (poem)


Marvin's saggy armchair floats on a cloud
the coffee table beside him filling magically
with stacks of fresh poetry books
like his coffeecup which never empties

the poets Marvin befriended on Earth
have reincarnated as butterflies
and dragonflies - here their wings
whisper unending rhymes rather
than the nasty buzzing hums made below

Marvin's smile is permanent
sometimes a breeze wafts fresh parchment
other times the stale tang of musty bookshelves
all are perfumes for Marvin's bookish nostrils

there are few reference questions in biblioheaven
and those sought have easy answers
well, just hard enough to require mild thought
and the reference books Marvin consults
always fall open at exactly the right page

seasons flit and fly in biblioheaven
they change with the turning of a page
sometimes one poem will encompass many seasons
and snow falls at Marvin's feet for a few seconds
followed by crisp leaves, perhaps
or a spring shower with the hint of freshened flowers

in his chair, on his cloud, book in hand
Marvin smiles, enchanted, whimsical
Biblioheaven!  few find the place
many hope they will

Chris Faiers


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That is SO comforting to envision.
Thanks for this Chris.  I hope Marvin saves a spot
for me.    Katherine.

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Andreas Gripp has left a new comment on your post "Marvin in Biblioheaven (poem)":

a very nice poetic tribute to Marvin, Chris. Thanks for posting!

Posted by Andreas Gripp to Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 31 March 2015 at 05:59

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On 2015-04-07, at 6:53 PM, Honey Novick wrote:

Dear Chris;  I am so very sorry to learn that Marvin passed.  I have no words

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On 2015-04-08, at 6:51 PM, Ariella Orbach wrote:

Hi Chris,

Beautiful images! I can just see him sitting in his chair, surrounded by poet-butterflies and inhaling the smell of the pages. (Although he quit coffee many years ago.) I'd like to think that his Biblioheaven exists, and that's where he is now, just as you describe it. :-)

PS- sorry for the time passed before responding to such a meaningful poem. My time abroad has been much busier and work days much longer than I had (optimistically) expected.


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Hi Ariella,
I'm so pleased you like my poem for Marvin!!!  Last week I received a newsletter post from Haiku Canada with the tribute/obit I wrote for Marvin. It must have appeared in The League of Canadian Poets newsletter as well, as I've had several poets express their email condolences, likely from this source (including Honey Novick & Kathy Figueroa - who visited me today). Some phone conversations with poets have also ensued with condolences & appreciation for Marvin's huge contribution to CanPo (e.g. Patrick Connors).

No probs with the time lapse - poets are always thrilled to receive a compliment, & I knew you were travelling because of work oriented duties.

Yes, whenever I visit ZenRiver Gardens this spring, to sit in my rocking chair on the deck of the shaman shack, I'll envision Marvin close at hand in his armchair, enjoying Biblioheaven !

peace, poetry power & an eternity in Biblioheaven  ;  )

Chris ... & Chase Wrfffffffffffffffffffffffffff!

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On 2015-04-16, at 6:49 PM, Gabriella Orbach wrote:

Hi Chris,

   I'm Marvin Orbach's wife. I apologize for not writing sooner but as you can
imagine I have a lot on my plate these days with paperwork,looking after the
house and general everyday chores.I wanted to tell you that after reading your
poem "Marvin in Biblio heaven" tears came to my eyes because you really
captured Marv's true spirit and his love for poetry.I intend to immortalize your
poem by framing it so that I can look at it everyday and remember Marv!
Thank you for creating such a beautiful tribute!!!!

         Peace be with you.


                     Gaby Orbach

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On 2015-06-22, at 1:54 PM, Susan Ioannou wrote:

Hi, again, Chris,

"Marvin in Biblioheaven" is truly lovely, as I would have imagined him, based on the warmth of his e-mails. I shall print a copy and save it with the rest of my Marvin Orbach correspondence.

Susan Ioannou

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From: Anna Pottier <>
Date: July 5, 2015 9:37:57 PM EDT
Subject: [Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens] New comment on Marvin in Biblioheaven (poem).

Anna Pottier has left a new comment on your post "Marvin in Biblioheaven (poem)":

Only today - 5 July 2015 - did I learn of Marvin Orbach's passing. It does not get much more surreal that sitting here under a whirring ceiling fan in the heat of Salt Lake City morning, stumbling upon the Sue Garter piece in Quill & Quire, and being knocked sideways at the words, "…he was…" .

Which prompted a frantic search, leading to his obituary in the Montreal Gazette. Marvin? Marvin of the undying enthusiasm and meticulous love of all things poetry? Marvin who came to our door on Monkland with a big bag of carrots from his garden, hoping to exchange them for a few signatures in volumes of Irving's books?

No, you see, this wasn't an ordinary man. If I may mangle a famous Layton poem, Marvin's devotion to poetry was perfect.

More than that, when Irving and I found ourselves embroiled in the disgusting but inevitable "Cameron Affair" (wherein only a few people dared join Irving in his battle against a shameful, error-fest of anti-Jewish shlock …..Marvin was stellar in simple but oh-so-important ways. I will never forget seeing Irving off towards the Vanier Library in all weather, clutching our newly minted samizdats. Irving, never good with machines, soon encountered photocopy trouble. His rescuing angel: Marvin Orbach. He made sure the paper tray was full; cleared up the maddening jams; and always made sure to have pockets full of change for Irving's paper money.

The sheer contrast between the entire nation's silence (when it was not aligned with Cameron against Irving) and Marvin's seamless, selfless help - I can tell you now though it is hard to see the screen as I type for the tears - it truly gladdened Irving's heart. Not only did the actual help make Irving's life easier, but just getting to know Marvin for his pure, pure soul, his kindness, and perhaps above all, his love of poetry, quite simply helped restore balance in Irving's life and heart during that horrible episode.

And the night we had dinner at Marvin and Gaby's, their beautiful little girl Ariella joining us for that perfectly cooked chicken (and my first taste of kasha and bows) also touched Irving. He and I recalled that night and Marvin quite a few times. Funny how a man can have friends who claim to have known him for 50 years, can have children, relatives, etc., but in a dark time, sometimes they all fall away, their absence made somewhat more acceptable by the appearance of an authentic, undivided, passionately kind and loving soul.

Marvin, I was looking forward to putting a copy of my memoir in your hands this September. Can't believe I won't get that chance, but maybe up there in Biblioheaven, you've already read it.

My deepest condolences to Gaby and Ariella, and to anyone in Canada for whom poetry is more than words on a page.
There will be no one else like him.

Anna Pottier

Posted by Anna Pottier to Riffs &amp; Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 5 July 2015 at 18:37

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Ariella Orbach has left a new comment on your post "Marvin in Biblioheaven (poem)":

Anna, thank you for your beautiful words about my father. I've always known that he was a very special person, but many of us feel that way about a parent - not a particularly objective opinion. To read so many others speak of their appreciation for his kindness, gentleness, and genuine interest in others has touched me deeply. Your words brought tears to my eyes as I sipped my coffee this morning; they were tears of happiness because I know that my father has left his mark here, in his own gentle way.

Although I was too young to remember your visit to our home, my parents always spoke highly of that dinner. Thank you for your condolences - I'm so happy that Marvin touched your lives as he did ours.

Ariella Orbach

Posted by Ariella Orbach to Riffs &amp; Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 6 July 2015 at 18:43

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Anna Pottier has left a new comment on your post "Marvin in Biblioheaven (poem)":

Ariella! He certainly was appreciated and loved by many. While I wish we could have come together again under any other circumstances, still, I am glad my words found their way to you.

He absolutely left his mark on this world, and you are surely his (and Gaby's) greatest legacy. He lives on in you, and the memories of many.

I've tried on occasion to make kasha and bows…never quite turns out like it did that night. If I recall correctly, you had been taking ballet classes and did a few sassy pirouettes.

Life, as they say, is for the living. We do our best, and that's all anyone can ask.


Posted by Anna Pottier to Riffs &amp; Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 7 July 2015 at 20:24


Friday, 27 March 2015