Recalling A Vigorous Verse-Maker

You had declined for I could not measure the time,
felt like thousands of thousands eclipses of the sun,
your flow of words become few words and then
muteness, a titan of Assisi devolved
into a sparrow without a song.
I think of your tough elan,
your steady, sure wave of passion.
With a persistent flow of assertion
you persuaded me to a place I had passed over,
a place of emotion often measured in iambs but,
you confided, the beat of the word takes precedence.

Tall and vast,
black and gray mane of hair flowing on past
shoulders of an Atlas and yet
I saw, while you were a giver of life, your life
looked impaired, recklessly spinning toward extinction,
like a Roaring Twenties candle burning at both ends
(but you sprang from the Beat Generation).
Your fate, I came to accept and then,
I heard, your extinction came.

I stared. Shock shook my soul.
Arms and legs moved; my mind ran in place behind:
you, free in body and mind, had willed the gift of words
ranged in verse, lyric, free or rhymed,
a gift without bow or card or wrapping paper,
a gift I vowed now I would not pass over.


Photography © Allison Goldin

Photography © Allison Goldin


Initially, Thomas Gagnon wanted to be a novelist. In 2000 or so, he met a poet, local to Boston, named Jack Powers, who gave him The Book of Hours: Prayers to a Lowly God, by the early 20th century German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Upon reading The Book of Hours, Gagnon’s former ambition to be a novelist gave way to a new ambition, to be a poet. Several years ago, he self-published a collection of poems called Pop Poetry, in which he intended to combine traditional forms of poetry (like the sonnet) with the rhyme and rhythm of the pop song.

Allison Goldin is an artist living in Cambridge. Her work is a collection of spontaneous drawings from the imagination. The most common link throughout her art are the semi-recognizable creatures scattered amongst and bringing together the surrounding doodles. She is currently studying Illustration at The School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.