Poems and Essays Written in Honor of Kelly

Veins of a leaf


by Gary Vallat (written after a massive circle for Kelly that took place at Soundview Center)

For Kelly and Diana Lindsay

The crowd enters the sanctuary
milling about appreciating
the beauty of the place,
anticipating the connection that awaits.

Neighbors arrive,
create a rumble
that adds a bass line
to the many greetings
and laughter that fill the hall. 

The Master of Ceremony
invites whistling angels
alive in a coterie  of bowls,
opens the door to silence,
leads us into the realm
of the Golden Orb that 

prepares the space
for you to rest in,
for us to remember
stories that have filled us
with your dreams,
taught us healing arts,
shared your wisdom.

Your journey from the outside
inspires and encourages
our questing self
embedded in the joy
of knowing you.


by Judith Adams (read by Judith at Kelly’s celebration of life)

Sometimes you must fast before entering
a poem, before the magnificence of a
great continent of a man.
In the circle of his embrace,
no one slips overboard.
When there is a good man about
The gods break out in Rap, mostly.
You and your friends
discuss with ease the turnoff
how it curves and disappears in a
mystic landscape.
And like nature’s mirroring symmetry
your marriage is of love, of vision
of listening and powering through
whatever destiny insists.
You pick out appropriate gear
and head into whatever weather
is crashing about.
We have seen you walking hand
into hand, which makes our
heart’s portfolio multiply.
You are a beacon
whose affection is a cathedral
strong, sacred and sheltering.
One of the rare men who
will not need a GPS among the stars
For they are shifting in this hour
to hold you and guide you to
that safe place beyond
our understanding.

The Dry Leaf

By Miriam Raabe

The image of the dry leaf appeared when I was thinking about Kelly shortly before he died. His body was growing weaker and more unreliable, but he continued to hang on and create characters and stories to accompany him on his downward and upward journey. He hoped he could lift himself up the way Diana had done years earlier. He seemed to really expect that he would succeed, a kind of weightlifting with the mind. It didn’t quite work. 

The dry leaf came to mind because it gives a certain illusion of life and vibrancy even as it is thinning, growing increasingly fragile, and waiting to drop from its slender branch. Those who love and cherish it do not want to let it go. They hold tightly to it. It is a loving reflex, to hold tight and to believe that one can transfer one’s strength and love and that this will work a miracle.

What is that moment when the leaf drops at last and drifts away? The little prince knew, or at least the story he made up about his end knew, that his body was too heavy to carry home, that he needed to leave it behind. 

And so the leaf grows lighter and lighter until it weighs almost nothing and can drop and disappear. A shadow of itself may remain. Just enough for those who love it to see and mourn and miss it deeply.