Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New friend gone

I remember being brand-new to Guilford, and our friend Pam Carley introduced me to poet Richard Tietjen at an R.J. Julia reading. A short time later I discovered the Stony Creek Market, was sitting outside having a tuna melt and heard "Sharon!" It was Richard with his hiking friend Gemma Mathewson. They told me about the trolley trail, and the white circle trail on which they had just walked in from Highway 146. Soon I would be joining Richard with other members of the Guilford Poets Guild for our twice-monthly workshops and monthly readings. I stood with Richard on several Saturdays with the Guilford Peace Alliance on the Guilford Green. He had been battling lymphoma for 14 years and seemed so resilient, a hardy walker, a special man with a brilliant mind. Recently he had been experiencing high fevers and was eventually diagnosed with leukemia. Early on the morning of April 20 he passed away peacefully, surrounded by friends and family. I've been looking at his photos and reading many of his poems. Here is one to share:

Right now

Happiness is what I want
to tell you about.
The getting and having,
the measuring.

Live in the same place for five years
watch the cars on the road
wash your dishes in the morning
and try to see
you will never get another chance
to be all-knowing, powerful, and wise.

Living won’t always make you happy
but when you are
you’ll know why

West Acworth, 1983


Muffy said...

Thanks for sharing Richard's poetry. I knew Richard as a neighbor, fellow trail volunteer, and friend. He was fiercely gentle, and funny, and kind. I will miss him.

Susan said...

What a wise poem. You are lucky to have had that time to know him; he sounds like he was a good man. Thank you for sharing his story.