Poem: “Portrait of Doug”

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Portrait of Doug


I did not know him,

the man himself.

But I have felt his presence—

in the tunes

in the welcome

in the far-off looks and sighs

of those who knew him—


sighs of sorrow,

looks of love.


I feel his welcome

in the welcome of others.

After just a few months

I’m hopelessly inclined

to love tunes he loved.

I search for connection with him

when I play the flute

given by the one

who loved him most.


But I did not know him,

the man himself,

will never know him

as others have known him.


And yet…


In the portrait created

by another who loved him,

I see him—


not only in the white hair

trimmed beard

and wrist-protector sock


not only in the mandolin

rimmed in light

resting on his knee


not only in the glasses

and necklace

and wedding ring


not even only in the expression

of studied concentration,



I learn the most about this man

I will never know

from the light

hovering between man

and mandolin.


Does the light shine on the man?

Or does it shine from him?


I think from.

I hope from.


If the light shines on the man,

I will only ever know him

as others have known him.


If the light shines from him

then he is still







I’ve heard many stories

about the man of which I write.

I’ve been glad to hear them,

to know of the clarity and love

with which he lived his life…


The artist, though,

has given me a

greater gift.


Seeing the man

through her loving, skillful eye,

I—finally—have met him for myself.


I sense his presence.

I see his light.

I feel his challenge

to help him live on

by sharing that light with others.


I will.


I will.





Doug Murray led the Irish music session I play in at the White Horse in Black Mountain.  My first time to attend was the first Tuesday night session after Doug’s funeral.  I never got the chance to meet Doug, but his spirit very much lives on.  Many thanks to Puck Askew for her amazing artwork!

About reallifepastor

I'm a pastor who's working out her faith...just like everyone else.
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