In Memorium: Bennett White (~25 October 2017)

Into the wind.
That’s the way I remember him.

On Inishmor, on the way home from Dun Aengus,
the old fort perched on the cliff behind us

soon our backs bent, leaning over the handlebars, turning
pedals, exertion carrying us, warming us to Kilronan, the harbor

and a small ship ferrying our band to Rossaveal, to the limestone
spiral, to Slievenagasha, the hazel wood, and helix bowls of the Burren

We followed the middle way to Mainistir, island on an island, 
and paused in the presence of Dara, priest and peregrine

of the waves, his body and face all craggy, angled, rock
above the shore, touching the wake, his hands to the sky,

open to the world’s wounds, and to the lure beyond.   This silence
a beauty, and spell, broken only by the sound of our goodbyes 

and the noise as three of us alighted our bicycles, friends
leaving in horse drawn carriages and the odd taxi,

the slight chill settling in our bodies didn’t matter,
Paul, Bennett, and I took the northern road, idling east,

muscles take over, the cranks, chainrings turn ‘round.
As the weather shifts, rain comes down a little harder, soaks

through clothes, our little accelerations small comfort
as cold stiffens our bodies, slows the tour to a slog, until Bennett

launches his bike, moves fast and away, disappears off the front, 
into the drizzle, so we go too, flying after him, but he was gone

until we found his bike outside the American Bar, himself inside
the warm pub, and David meeting us with a tray of hot whiskies,

the room a mess of mystics in conversations with rock
and clouds and cliff, the sheer drop to the sea, spray, and salt.

Into the wind, Bennett far ahead, and now around this table
Beth in his arms, a great smile as he rises,

greets Paul and me, and claps us on our backs.
“Good one, Mates!” he says, “Something warm to drink?”

That’s the way I remember him.

Larry Ruth
2018

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