I remember cities for this broad and brightening map
Or they died at whatever age too young, still strong, still needed.
John Cousens. Robert Newdiek. Albert Kahn. Charles Gott.
Listen. John Cousens looked right through you, and you'd better be sure he'd see nothing you'd be ashamed of. He worked hard, with a grim love, with life for his material, knowing time short. You wouldn't do less than your best for the president of your col-lege. You couldn't. He'd know. You gave him your first book; the years he gave you to make it you had given him back, you thought, when he dropped dead a few months after. It was a long time before you could walk past his office window, and not go in, and not look, and not accept death.
Robert Newdick wrote you letters you read like the morning paper, and answered like telegrams. Lov-ing the same great living poet, you both poured all you knew into one deep pool; and books, teach-ing, hope, joy. He was so busy. He planned so much work. You couldn't believe the clipping from the Columbus paper. Not Bob. Not dead.
And why does it always come without warning? In the midst of life?
Listen. Albert Kahn was a lawyer who liked music, and had a houseful of good books and two sons. You never really knew him as you were to have known him, and he guessed it; we both knew and never said so. He was tall, he was wise, he was kind and eager and sad. Even now you catch yourself thinking, I must tell Albert about this, this is something Albert would like. It was better to be talking a little while with him anywhere than with the best talkers in the world every day in the week. You didn't get it often. Too many things stood in the way, death the last one.
Charles Gott was the best boss you ever had. He knew all the answers even if you didn't ask the questions, and you didn't. You knew what he wanted, he knew what your work was. He told the best stories you ever heard, you looked forward to seeing him every day, his mind made your mind clear and calm when you talked things over. You were just thinking you could work a lifetime for him and like it, when he died. He died.
All these red lines, like blood, mean letters coming and going,
We used these thousands of words to keep the family