Leodamas of Thebes

He smiled a lot.  I remember
Sun lines and laugh lines wrinkled together
Below white hair; and kindly eyes.
He spoke to young or old as equals.

Oil on water, we often said,
But oil works by being heavy,
Smothering waves beneath its weight.
That wasn't how he brought us together.

He did not depress us, but uplifted.
He made us large, our quarrels small.
We rose above them and agreed—
Or disagreed, but without hate.

Every year we commemorate him,
And if another has served us so,
We usher him or her into
A blessed company, the makers of peace.

Call me not a malcontent
If I wish he were a living model.
No icon can replace my friend:
I honor the legend, but miss the man.

a.d. VI Id. Aug. 2754
Copyright © 2001 by Green Sky Press.  All rights reserved.

This poem also appears in my novel The Last-Minute Queen, where it's credited to a fictional character.