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Ric Masten’s tribute poem for Nancy Malone

I met Joe on-line during April's Poem-a-Day. I met Marcy Burns when she reviewed "Sightlines: A Poet's Diary." Joe and Marcy are friends.

He responded to my father's poem for mother "When Trails Divide" by sending me a poem Ric Masten wrote for Joe's wife. Marcy had sent me Ric Masten's book "Words & One-Liners, Take 3" to chose a poem to post on Riehlife later. Joe's wife and Mother both chose the month of May to go on home. Nancy in May 12, 2005. Mother in May 1, 2006.

Here's Joe in his own words, introducing Ric's poem for his wife:

Janet - Please tell your father how much I enjoyed the poem he crafted four years ago. I can empathize. I lost my "partner" of 44 years five years ago (5/12/05) after a decade of care giving (Alzheimers). To commemorate, we visit her each Mother's Day. A fitting anniversary of her passing.

Here's a poem Ric Masten wrote and presented at her memorial celebration. We have it framed along with a touching picture of her "Going Out Dancing" on the beach at Monterey Bay. It's as close to your father's poem as I can get. The only thing that Ric left out was - at the end - his audience gave her a standing "O".


Ric Masten – May 27, 2005

for years now Joe has been skulking around
on the periphery of my existence
book purchases occasional fan letters
phone calls when I was in the middle
of a TV program he not being much more
than an entry in my database
that is until the day
he responded to an on-line plea I posted
having to do with a leaky roof
“May I help?” – “Yes you may.”
then and there a date to lunch
at Rocky Point was made
“My wife Nancy will be with me
and you should know that we
are dealing with Alzheimer’s
she may fidget a a little loud
but not to worry she’ll be fine
and fine she was
a delightful laughing presence “hah haaaa!”
“I do like my coke and lemons Joe”
over and over tugging at Joe’s sleeve
“I need to go tinkle”
a bit restless a little loud
yet bringing to mind some lines
I put together long ago
“I wish I could remember
What I knew when I was five
I think I had the answer then
Having just recently arrived
I recall that I
Could change into a dragonfly
And when you know how to do this
You know everything”
other luncheons followed
Flint, one of Rocky Point’s waiters
bringing coke and lemons the moment
he saw us coming through the door
“We’ve been here before, haven’t we Joe?”
“You know how I love my coke and lemons.”
then the poetry reading up in Carmel Valley
Joe calling ahead assuring the hostess
that if Nancy became disruptive
they would quickly slip away
the setting
was a sweeping summer lawn
ringed by live oak and alder
a crowd of some two hundred
gathered on the grass
Joe and Nancy in the very back row
half way through the proceedings

She did begin to fidget and be a bit loud
so Joe, waving to me, took her by the hand
and they began moving up the grassy slope
suddenly Nancy stops and turns around

shouting in a voice loud and clear
“I don’t know who you are!
I don’t know where I am!
But I do love it here!”

when it is my turn to melt
into the shadows that edge the green
my time to slip away
May I depart this earthly scene
heart brimming with the feelings
Nancy felt that day

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2 Responses »

  1. It was good to read your blog today, Janet. My Dad, Ric Masten, also passed away in May (2008). I was thinking about him when Joe emailed about your poetry site. Reading it was like being at a poetry reading, hearing new works and old.
    Thank you. April

  2. Dear April,

    It was an honor to run both poems of your father's on Riehlife: Village Wisdom for the 21st century. It's not usually such a poetry dense site, but tilts that way now and again...especially during April.

    It's so good to hear from you and to know that these posts touch you as his words live on.

    Janet Riehl

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