RICHARD DAUENHAUER 1942-2014
Word last night of the sudden death of poet and linguist Richard
John Dauenhauer, unexpected in its suddenness though he had been
diagnosed with inoperable cancer a month before.
Long resident in Alaska he was from upstate New York. This poem and
then some thoughts further on this life.
"DIVINE LITURGY AT ST. ELIAS CHURCH ONONDAGA HILL 1982
When faces change
on people and the earth,
into cosmic time
and celebrate this banquet
where as kids we played
softball at family picnics
in pastures with bases
of cried up hose manure
rides his flaming chariot
where Uncle Johnny
used to drive his tractor.
Beyond the altar an enormous
stained glass icon window
of Jesus ,Cleopas,and Luke
going on before us
of what has gone before.
In the end
we move to other lives
and in the present,
returning to ourselves,
we try to see
through a window of divinity
of which we think we know
what lies beyond
because of what we think of know
what used to be
Uncle Johnny's barn."
I met Dick sometimes when he was in New York when he and his
wife (Nora Marks Dauenhauer also a writer and now poet laureate
of Alaska) came down and attended retreats of our circle called
Transfiguration and conferences in New York in honor of Fr.Alexander
Men where he read his poetry. Often over the years chatted on
telephone or exchanged notes on for example his translation of
some poem by Boris Pasternak.
In this photo from today's website of a Juneau TV channel shows him
speaking and it seems that he is illustrating the hand gesture(he would
have known also the word 'mudra' and Gary Snyder was perhaps the
poet he most resembled in style) of blessing representing the letters
in Greek IC XC of the name Jesus Christ.
here are some photos from events with Transfiguration
with Peter Von Berg
John J O'Sullivan and Lorraine Kisly talking with Andrey Cherniak
Bill Samsonoff, Nora to the right, and Judith Komline at the home of the Allisons.
Bible study in Arlington Vermont. Lorraine left. Chico Martin, Jon O'Sullivan, Bill Samsonoff.
reading at Union Seminary.
with Seraphim on Samsonoffs' porch. happy to have found this.
they present a play by Nora from Tlingit legend on the trickster Raven.
He was a Christian man not in an ostentatious way of pushing his
faith but with a day to day living within and as a lay reader also
and collaborator in the diocesan council sometimes, serving as he
could to build it up.
But more than that, without knowing him really intimately but I think it
will hold to say, gentle and wise and modest in dealings, clear sighted
but not disillusioned. accepting gladly the Church as it is knowing
that to be something more than all its parts and each person to be
more by far than all imperfections and shadows.That "This Jack, joke,
poor potsherd, ' patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,.
Is immortal diamond."
I have ended writing in a more elegiac way than I would have intended
but it is this happy point that in Dick one saw and sees as one does,
as I do and maybe you do, among those one knows, the Church in its
deep and ever reality.
The poem I posted seems now also to me a good one and hope that
you may enjoy it.