To friends who have died

15 Dec

Three of my seminary colleagues have died in recent months. I think of them frequently. Out of my reflections, this poem emerged.

To Friends Who Have Died


You belong—

you whose bodies lie

in the earth covered

with sod

names chiseled

in stone—

You belong to all

those who carry

you in their hearts

but no less to me

you inhabit my mind and my soul

not gone to some

far away land.

In each moment

I call forth

your being-here

into my present

for conversation in which

it is true you listen

but seldom speak


You have received

the blessing

that you need not

walk through the present

desert—we shared a

wilderness walk

of our own together.

Our walking a template

even as now I go

another course different

from what was set for us.

We learned what you

know well—the trek

in the wilderness

does not end with

forty years.


God’s best work

is done in the desert—

so it is said.

Let me say

we were formed as friends

on a wilderness trail—

that is what I miss—

old companions

in a changing desert.


Why did you leave off?

Why am I left bereft?

Is God’s winnowing

not finished—

I need more desert time?

We said the desert

is a place for dancing—

we can dance today,

but the old moves

passed away with you

(c) Phil Hefner   12/13/2021

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