Mattie S : LUSENET : FRL friends : One Thread

On reading of the Death of Mattie Stepanek

I long to be a great poet./Or do I only crave the recognition?/It's hard to tell sometimes.

I read news of the death/and think on what might have been./And yet had he matured, he might have lost/the innocence./"Oh no! Not Mattie," his fans and loved ones intone./"Never Mattie."

"He was so--"/And we fill our thoughts of him with us.

I'm jealous of his success,/that his death is news and not obituary,/yet know the fragility of art,/its will-o-wisp fickleness,/its shifting definition,/its pinching toes and choking collars/as we grow.

New voices cry truth primitive and simple./But if they dare develop but a little,/they chance becoming brittle mere members/of the nameless packs.

We must grow or resign to noble hacks,/self-defined, limited by perhaps some small success, or/we learn and lose our bumpkin charm.

Once begun, the process has no end,/and we continue, hoping to come out/the other side alone again,/recognizing anew the sound of our own voice,/embracing it as a lost friend.

-- J (, July 06, 2004


Poetry speaks from the heart.

-- Tricia the Cnauck (jayles@teluspalnet.ent), July 07, 2004.

"From the heart" seems right. Little Mattie's first pamphlet-sized poetry book was called "Heartsongs," and the others also include that word in their titles.

-- J (, July 10, 2004.

J, did you know Mattie?

-- helen (dense@times.lately), July 10, 2004.

Nope. Not in the way you mean. Don't recall ever having heard of him until I read of his death. Didn't see him on Oprah. Didn't know 3 of his 5 books hit Best Seller's list. He reportedly was a poetic prodigy from infancy (though I speculate that someone who thinks you one may do much to make or sustain you as such; most kids are poets if we would just write down what they say). His bunch had a rare form of muscular dystrophy, and he was preceded in death by three siblings. Onset was not immediate as he was apparently proud of a black belt he got before being confined to wheelchair. His philosophy condensed to "Always remember to play after every storm." How can you resist that? My local bookstore only had one of his books (the first, "early" stuff--how could all of it be anything but?--a pamphlet really). It was in the bargain section. So fleeting fame, so too-short life. His. Ours. Any. But his so poigniantly for this moment.

Regards knowing in the way you didn't mean, if I can find it, I'll post one I wrote after reading Keats a long time ago.

-- J (, July 10, 2004.

OH! I know who Mattie was! I didn't know he died! Oh ...

-- helen (sad@this.passing), July 11, 2004.

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