Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018

Some writers give us clever words,
Witty thoughts, turns of phrase,
Others give us archetypes: the Master Detective,
The Jungle Lord, the Man of Steel.
Some conjure a new invention:
The Time Machine, the Teleporter.

Ursula dreamed for us whole worlds,
As rich, as full as Earth herself,
And peopled them with real folk
Who lived true lives of their very own.
With her we sailed the Earthsea oceans,
Spoke to dragons, fought the shadows,

Through her we walked the glaciers of Winter,
With dear companion fleeing tyrant's injustice.
Pushing frontiers in math and society,
We learned true journey is return.
Leaving Omelas, or going to Mishnory,
Either way you're still on the road.

The story of Aeneas we knew,
But Ursula told us Lavinia's.
Asimov showed us Galactic Empire,
But Le Guin introduced us to the Hain.
She took us Very Far Away from Anywhere Else,
And showed us the workings of the Lathe of Heaven.

She gave us love, though we didn't know her.
She spoke to us daily, though we never met her.
Her very first lesson, and also her last,
Was death is necessary for life,
Darkness for light, silence for speech.
Forbidden to mourn her, we always will.

—San Ysidro, California 1/26/2018
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