A Poem for Patrick Lee
Readers of this blog know in what deep esteem I held Patrick Lee, the reviewer behind the vital Just Shows To Go You. Hearing of his untimely death yesterday, I could not quite wrap my mind around what we've lost.
After loving his reviews for years, I asked him to write the introduction to the published version of The Lesser Seductions of History, but that request was not in time, and I am left still wanting (as we all are now) one more brush with that singular vision of clarity and generosity.
I wrote this sonnet in an effort to better say how much that vision meant to me.
Is a review a mirror or window?
Do its words reflect their author or reveal
The thing itself? On Just Shows To Go You,
You did both, seeing what was most real
In the play by seeing through yourself.
That kind of double-sight made for honesty,
Generosity, not filling a shelf
With heaving cleverness, but the brevity
You need to pierce the waking dream in flight.
We met three times, I think, and every time
You asked, "what should I see?", with the delight
That knows to seek is better than to find.
Not a mirror or window, death's a door;
We're left now looking through your words for more.
Rest in peace.