While thinking about the murder of Pat Lowther I write a poem for Roy

To become the possibility you are, stay still,
do not run or fly up. Stand where you are,
and wait for kind eyes and gentle hands.
Receive yourself through hands and eyes,
that hold you and love you at depth.

To become the thing you are not, quick-
march after your nearest obsession;
the one dressed up as fair desire,
the one that, if your hand was unclenched,
could be found filed under Romantic Lies.

To become what you are not,
bind yourself to acquisitive pursuit,
be a pawn to the approving glance,
a puppet to tomorrow’s fascination,
a slave to pomp and self-pity.

And when your heart is self-housed, 
and your mind oxidized by envy,
you will conclude that to be,
you must possess, not merely,
the object, but the other.

And so you arrive at connivance,
and betrayal, if it comes to that.
For most often, the prick
of existential lack, is sharpest
when with your choicest friend.

And in the furnace of ill-shapen want,
your surrogate victim is offered,
to the grim gods of scarcity.
And you—once earnest and eager disciple—
are hidden from mercy, hostage to malice.

But to become the possibility you are,
the shining dust of the hidden God,
simply love a model that is true,
and receive yourself through eyes,
that love you at depth.

Thirty years ago, poet Pat Lowther was to read at the Ironworkers Hall on Columbia Street in Vancouver, with Patrick Lane, David Day and Peter Trower. Just a few days before the event, Pat Lowther was murdered with a hammer by her husband Roy, also a poet. Roy had not been invited to read. Earlier, he had raged on the phone to Patrick Lane, "She’s got no right to take my only audience away from me." Roy Lowther died in prison in 1985.

11 Comments

  1. Ahh, but why do so many of us end up as what we are not, and never seem to realize our possibilities? (except perhaps at the moment of death – and that is such a complicated topic, my friend, that we would have to meet over dinner just to begin to discuss it) In any event, perhaps art will help distract us – for me, tonight it is a live bootleg of Television (the band) in san fran in 1978, and Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, a big book about the founding fathers of National Lampoon.

    Great work – is more poetry within you asking to be let out?

    Gary

  2. Ahh thanks Gary! I continue to try and open windows is all. To your comment…insightful as always. Ponder: perhaps art, for better or worse, instead of distraction, is our surrogate mentor. Enjoy your finds, will look forward to a review some time.

  3. Huh, I needed those words. It’s too easy to let my mind chase after things that are not in my grasp, to grasp when I need to be at ease with what I have. But slowly, slowly I am learning to receive myself, through others and through my own eyes, that love me at depth.

    Thanks for your poem.

  4. Thank you for your fair treatment of a subject about whom it seems difficult to be objective. His was a life wasted upon his many victims, and but for himself, could have, and should have, faired much better. I don’t miss what I barely knew, but I lament what I hardly had.

  5. You’re welcome.

    I’m Roy Lowther’s Estate holder.

    He had some good in him — then became diseased beyond repair,
    by his own choice, in my opinion.

    Pat Lowther saw & loved that good part, as did I.
    Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to get away from him in time.

    She was a gentle, very kind step-mother to me.

    Thanks Stephen.

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