Elegy for a Dear Friend by Paul Lubenkov

for Leon Stokesbury
I was searching for a box
To package a lovely jar
Of Herbes de Provence to send you,
An early Christmas present,
When I heard the dreadful news.
You went to bed that night
Of November 13, and your heart
Just stopped. When I heard the news
That my dear friend had passed, I remembered
You once had told me with sadness
A visit to the pyramids of Egypt
Was your dream. But you never went.
I had wanted to see you in Atlanta
To relive the good times gone by,
But I never went. Now I miss
The spirit of your friendship, your wit,
Your culinary insight. And I hold
This jar of Herbes de Provence
Gently in my hands,
The gift I never sent.
Herbes de Provence, a gift
I hoped you might treasure,
Now a keepsake to remember you by
As I conjure a sublime feast
Of rare sensory delights
I believe you would thoroughly savor,
With essence of Herbes de Provence.
You once told me, “We never die.
“We only change shape.” And I wondered
What in this world that meant.
Now the essence of Herbes de Provence
Remains to remind me of you.
In the spirit of Herbes de Provence,
I bid you adieu, dear friend,
And remember your spirit, your essence,
Wherever I may find it,
In whatever shape you may take.
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