Lanterns (For Alan Ross)

(Published in The London Magazine, June 2003)

Last Christmas I was told of your despair
And I saw in a dream you falling down
A dark valley bottom, but high above
On hills there were lanterns waiting for your
Return, keeping faith. A few months later
I read of your death from a heart attack.

But now, far clearer, I see you in a
Bright fishing smack coming into an island
In Greece, in the bluest sea at sunset
Steering with pride. The deck is full of live
And shining silver fish. You anchor, drink
Cold white wine and salute the harbour.

All along the hot, stony road from the sea
There are lanterns on the squat houses,
Each illuminates a cover
Of all The London Magazine you made.
Every lantern honours you.