Sunday, September 28, 2003

Not sure of the years, ...

but it was during the period when Bob was just out of high school and off for the summer in Big Sur country. Our mutual friend, a Universalist Unitarian minister, was building a home high above Palo Colorado Canyon with the help of several men. Bob was the youngest of these; perhaps 18 at the time.

It was a hot summer evening and a group of us were seated on the deck of the poet, Ric Masten, and his wife, Billie Barbara. The deck looked out to sea from a point high on the mountainside. Somewhere between the Masten home and the ocean -- down the steep slope -- I was aware that Bob was asleep in his sleeping bag on the site of the new foundation; among foxes, and heaven knows what all. I wondered at his fearlessness, if that's indeed what it was.

Ric and I had been trading songs all evening, he with his 12-string and me with my much-loved Martin guitar. We appeared together in concert from time to time at colleges and churches and thoroughly enjoyed sharing our latest works. It was a magical time. I was aware that night of the added accompaniment of the chorus of frogs in the background as we sang. Somewhere among my old tapes that are no longer playable, is one of that evening... .

Wrote this song for Bob (not sure he's ever heard it):

The Man Now Come to Stay

The mornin's past and noon can't last and evenin's on its way
the babe has gone, the boy moves on toward man who'll come to stay
I'll sing my song to pray him strong and bless him on his way
the mist hangs high becomes the sky and ocean's born today!
the babe has gone but boy lives on in man who'll come to stay.

the mists enshroud conceives the cloud and ocean's born today
the babe has gone, but boy lives on in man whose on his way
the man now come to stay

I believe that I was able to silently release Bob that night from the Masten's deck overlooking the Pacific, to become his own person. Which is not to say that we ever really sprang totally free of our moorings, but to the extent possible -- I was keenly aware of myself as the archer's bow from which the arrow is catapulted out into the world -- with a fervent prayer of hope that he would survive the launching.

Dorian is still caught in the bow strings, and David's lived a song of his own.