I regret I can’t be with you as you await

your final breath. You always wanted copies

of my poems so I thought you’d want to see

my tear-stained tribute since eulogies never

do get heard by the deceased.

You were my most honorable and loyal friend,

passionate about history, you seemed to have

stepped out of a bygone era, a courtly gent

with a quality of civility no longer seen.

You still tipped your hat at the ladies

and would have gladly kissed their hand.

An ultimate gentleman, you viewed the world

with child-like eyes, bewildered by injustice,

greed and the violence of the vermin in our midst.

When your business went bust every creditor

was paid off down to the last cent.

You were always much too literal in your quest

for logic and rationality, perplexed by the mindlessness

of your fellow man. Reluctant to become computer literate

you were puzzled by what grim faced workers produce

staring at computers screens all day long.

Your life was never easy, the only son of a World War One

cavalry officer who imbued you with the steely determination

of a Nelsen Mandela. You fled from the demons of Vienna

to the White Cliffs of Dover only to endure the terror of the Blitz.

I never understood why you had to be geographically

oriented at all times, always asking if we were traveling

east or west, north or south, curious about the names

of each and every town .You may soon be moving without a map.

Your life-time habit of giving will prove to be a reliable compass

to get you where you must be going. At your new destination

I hope you’ll still be able to come rushing in with a six-pack of

Heineken beer the way you used to do at the BYO Mezza Notte lunch.

Don’t forget to order your favorite mushroom-barley soup before taking

your place as the most luminous light in that vast sea of shining stars.