YOU SIGHED AND SMILED OUT FROM AN ISLAND
In memory of Jean Pumphrey (1931-2014)
You sighed and smiled out from an island
culture and nature still treasure, still bless.
Yes, Jean, who else can this mean but you,
blushing Audrey of the hungering heart,
a sucker for artistry and art? You taught
the same way you fought dark ignorance
in Saint Matthewâ€™s realm. Your sweet secret:
let silenced light shine — around the body
poetry loves; not bodies of seawater, not astral.
No body of experts. Bodies. Just the light
around the body poet Robert Bly got the blues
about, right around the time we met, San Mateo,
the 1970s, just when the mythic Sixties kicked in
and scared out the sacred from us, what little hell
we had left. We loved Blyâ€™s blues. Ears wide open
to cries in all keys, you listened. You let pupils,
patients set the beat. Spirit-leashed, your god-dog,
Rumi, ushered you through blinding nights.
You uttered peace. Sheltered at the edge, the light
around the body longs to leak and blend with all
it knows it is. You told us, Jean, you sighed, you
smiled, you lived to reach and teach, to touch to heal.
— Al Young
Â© 2015 Al Young