Paul Wellstone - October 25, 2002
On a gray, sleety October day,
the plane goes down in the north woods
with the large-hearted senator
whose decency and respect for old ideals
made half the citizens almost happy
to be Americans in a dark time.
Down went his wife and his daughter too,
three campaign workers, two pilots,
eight in all, the radio says,
neglecting the ninth seat where Death
dressed in an ordinary suit
sat watching for his chance
to do a morning's harvesting.
Do you think he wasn't there
hitching a ride, invisible, just as
he sat in the box at Ford's Theatre,
held open the convertible door in Dallas?
He sits in the front seat of your car, too,
or waits feigning sleep with his head
resting on the next pillow in your bed.
So we go on to write the same poem,
sing the same sad song yet once more
not for the dead who have gone
over to the insensible kingdom
but for us who must now carry on
without them. This time, as so often
before, Death snatched a big one
when we could not stand to lose
his voice, which spoke, not alone,
but for us millions who longed
for a world green, alive, about to bloom.
~ Bill Holm, Playing the Black Piano/The Chain Letter of the Soul
I miss both of these voices.