Sunday, August 14, 2016

A poem this time . . .

In Memoriam: Robert Lawrence Frederick 1952-2014
by James Prothero

Of all the times, soul free, we roamed along
the desert highways, alpine forests, roads
that wander like a restless thought allowed
in sleep, the one that I recall the most
was when we rambled north in Tarkus to see
a billion stars. We parked along 180,
remote as Mars, and watched the heavens wheel
in silent flight. Southeast of us the Peaks
loomed black against the star-splashed sky like lace
on sable.

Mornings dawned like hope across
the forest standing silent audience round
the town and campus. There I grew to be
the man I am. To me you were my guide
my elder brother. Journeys beckoned us:
to Colorado, Arizona, north
to Utah, reservation, mountain trails,
and through the wilder wilderness of class:
of Hemingway and Faulkner, sonnet and
self-centered free-verse, Dickens, Poe, Thoreau;

And then you left—we drove in Tarkus all
the way to far Detroit, from whence you didn’t
return for two years. Brothers distant but
in space and time yet not in heart. I lured
you back in 79 to mountain home—
and then I left—fool! to start the years
apart. Brothers distant but in space
and time yet not in heart. Your love took you
to Florida and mine to California;
our wives and children, jobs and dreams--but yours,
oh, yours was shattered--felt three-thousand miles
across the land—brothers distant but
in space and time yet not in heart.

the years I flew to Florida and you
to California, roaming, playing bass,
guitar and flute. We cut an album, took
a journey round our Arizona home in dead
of winter—that our last, perhaps best trip
through our old home.

And then you called, so far
across the wires, from Colorado: “cancer”
you said, I gasped--“perhaps a year or so.”
We brothers distant but in space and time,
Yet not in heart. Last month I read the words
of eulogy above the box that held your ash
remains. That box we’ll take, your son and I
into the meadows of the Peaks and set you free
into the breeze above the aspen forest
that you loved. And I will see you again
across the Wood Between the Worlds,
we brothers distant but in space and time,
--yet not in heart.


  1. Jim, what a beautiful poem! It made me cry. You have such a strong meter that works so well with the poems them and refrain. Felt in my heart, bro!