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Apr 2021
The darkness and the quiet
Are less frightening than before.
Even, as in the world of Poe,
The shroud, the pall, the tomb
Are looming truths in store,

The thing I fear the most
Is not the end, the sad goodbyes,
Tears, or labored breaths.
It’s not eternity or judgement,
Or even sweet oblivion.

There’s a larger tragedy,
A greater loss to me:
It haunts me even now
While death’s still off a ways,
Waiting patiently.

That you might spend your life,
Your family grown,
Now gray and stooped,
Career complete,
With loved ones of your own

And, looking back, see an empty place
Where other’s lives were full
And feel you weren’t enough,
Arms stretched, Innocent,
Reaching out, a little girl.

I fear your life will pass
Not knowing, or believing
You were cared for, celebrated,
Your young life
The greatest source of joy to me.

In you I saw a thing
I hadn’t seen before.
It touched my heart, and brought
A peaceful inner feeling
Whenever you were near.  

Clumsily, I overstepped
My deeds and words
And gifts, and more...
Felt right, but came out wrong
I failed, you left, and that is that.

My old fool’s error
(I’ve made my share)
Was what I said and did for sure.
Though what was in my heart
Was bright and clean, and pure.

My fear’s that you won’t know
(Or care to know) the joy you brought,
The calm I felt, priceless, but free
But most of all:
That you were loved- by me.
For Jillian
John Van Dyke
Written by
John Van Dyke  70/M
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