JANUARY 1996 (by Ann MacKinnon)

In this dark January
death thrusts at me
as dead whales rot on the sand
and birds call over them.

A poet answers cryptically
but his images define, as he lights
a cigarette and allows one last poem
to trail down the page.

The country toasts the bard
who brought us love
in a red, red rose
and taught us tolerance.

A friend dies alone,
his imagination curbed,
but his creations remain,
a celebration of a mind so full

That he could no longer
control it and let it engulf him.
He courted death and left the
future to us.

A cairn is built for hundreds
who died but we can only mourn
a few special people
this dark January.