Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nila Wallin Barratt

My dear friend Nila passed away in her sleep. Most every Saturday for years the two of us went to lunch and a movie. She was one-of-a-kind, and I loved her. Now Henry the Hawk, in the form of an angel, has finally taken her flying away with him. But I shall surely miss her! She was a young 83.

She was, as her obituary said, "a salty old gal" who loved life and did everything she wanted to do, and more. One of those things was to write a novel called The Hawk and the Heart, a semi-autobiographical story of a woman's grief at the sudden death of her husband (personified by a hawk, who appears one day at her window to watch over her until she recovers). At one point, in a dream, he takes her on a night flight over the countryside, over the rooftops of her neighbor's farmhouses, off toward the moon and stars.

Sweet dreams, m'dear. Enjoy the journey.


i thank You God for most this morning
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

now the ears of my ears awake and
the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings

photo by tinyfishy


chiefbiscuit said...

I'm sorry you have saif d goodbye for now to a friend.

What a marvellous poem.

Jo said...

I'm very sorry too. I've been doing my own goodbyes, too many, and god, it hurts. The poem is beautiful, he's a favourite of mine.

pepektheassassin said...

Thanks. Nila, as her obit this morning said, was "a salty old gal," who did everything in life that she wanted to do. One of those things was to write a book called The Hawk and the Heart, a semi-autobiographical story of a woman's grief at the death of her husband (personified by a hawk, who comes to watch over her).

Hm. Maybe this belongs out on the blog. What d'you think?

Pam said...

I am so sorry... your tribute is lovely as are you.

Jo said...

Hi P,

How wonderful she went in her sleep. That is the way I hope to go. Seems she wrote as if she knew she would leave this earth in dreams. Sorry for your loss at least you shared a close friendship. :)

Anonymous said...

A beautiful image for saying goodbye to your friend. She sounds like she was a great companion.

Thanks for sharing the poem, too. It captures the same spirit of your friend you depict in your post.

wendy said...

I remember you speaking of her before. I'm sure she knew you loved her well.

pepektheassassin said...

Thank you, all. I am reading the e.e.cummings at her funeral tomorrow.

January said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Tammy said...

I'm very sorry for your loss Joyce, she sounded like a special lady. Beautiful poem!


Carole (watermaid) said...

To have done 'everything she wanted to do' - she used her life well. What a lovely flight of imagination is embodied in henry the Hawk. I'm now better able to appreciate where you were coming from with your comment about angels over on my blog.

I love e.e. cummings too.

rick said...

It sounds to me like you were blessed to find and recognize each other and to keep each other company on the long journey. I don't know why, but it brings to mind this other thing you wrote

"...It happens now somewhere
everywhere that this boy
plants rice
while they watch
he bends over
the bewitched rice or corn
the red or white beans
the potatoes and melons
the squash
like the angel
who whispers grow

Maybe he simply charms
the fish to leap out
of the water
into his hands
in the red dawn..."

painter said...

Oh my gosh!! I see where the red painting came from!! Let me find the image, I'll get back to you.