Requiem: In Memory of Dan Fogelberg
(For Dan Fogelberg, 8/13/1951 - 12/16/2007)
By J. R. Simons, 2007
“And in the passage from the cradle to the grave
We are born madly dancing . . .
The lines of life are never long when seen from end to end.” – Dan Fogelberg, “In The Passage,” 1981
Sunday afternoon, 16 December,
The snow fell heavy
Deep in the Netherlands.
Were your captured angel’s wings
So great they needed to be clipped
To fit you through heaven’s gates?
Or could it be
That the feathers of a Phoenix
Are a brilliant white
And they fell so thick
On the ground as you cheated death
And rose from the grave?
I met an old crush of mine
For coffee and some pie
Some years ago at Bob Evans.
She had married herself a carpenter
And sometimes soldier
And told me she was –
That most of the time they clicked.
Somehow the sapphire crystal of her eyes
Betrayed some truth deep inside
And I doubted what she said.
Yet, despite my doubts
I declined to tell her
I had loved her –
Would always lover her –
Longer than . . .
And as I drove away
I thought of you on that snowy
Christmas Eve –
That maudlin, melodramatic bittersweet moment –
When you let love slip away.
Gold still retains its power –
Still holds men under its spell –
We have yet to kill the fire
And turn to the sun.
Perhaps it’s best
That you’ve been spared
The pain of that day
When all the poisons
We’ve been pumping into the sky
Blot it out forever.
Once, in an age of innocence,
I dared to love –
We were worlds apart –
She ran with the bad boys –
Heavy metal singers, rock and roll drummers –
And I was a drama geek
With a straight-A average.
I’ve pressed those days
Away in the pages of childish memory
Along with a line or two about love
From a cassette I played so many times
I broke it.
The Reach has claimed another –
The living legacy is no more –
The voice is silenced -
The fingers on the fret board stilled –
While I weep for the loss
I know that – in some measure –
You have cheated death -
With immortality in words and music
Cut deeply into vinyl
And etched not only in the memory
Of a plastic compact disc
But the memory of a child –
Countless children –
Raised on a simple Midwest singer’s wisdom.
Go, blessed traveler,
You who danced madly
For such a short time,
And journey the length of the light.