Barbara Nelson, one of Rich's English teachers,

29 Sept 2001

My thoughts have hardly left Rich Lee…  I visualize exactly where he usually sat in the classroom, his typical postures, the timing with which he would respond during literature discussions, and the exciting and stimulating quality of his insights.

But these are all just the residual images and impressions of our interaction and time together – like film negatives.  Perhaps the most characterizing “positive” that I’ve retained, which wrenchingly embodies all of the rest, is the private name that I used with him.  Even as we corresponded during his college years, I would address him and he would sign himself as “Greatheart”, taken from a poem which begins: “Where are you going, Greatheart, with your eager face and fiery grace? Where are you going, Greatheart?"

Greatheart, with his eager face and fiery grace, with his energy and brilliance, with his tenderness and goodness, with his capacity to love thought, work, and people... Will I think of him?

You know the answer… one final gift of poetry between us."




Will l think of you?


...except in the morning when I first waken,

In the evening, and before I sleep,

During the day between morning and night

In the midst of the things and nothings of my life.

Only at these times

will l think of you.


Only on sunny days will l think of you,

And in the rain,

In the power of the wind

And in Its absence.

Only in the mist and in clear weather

Only at these times

will l think of you.


Only in crowded places will l think of you,

And when I am alone,

And when only a few are near.

Only when I am busy and when I am idle

Will l think of you.


Only in these-

The circumstances and seconds of my life,

The times and tides of my being-

Only in these

And in all of these

Will l think of you.

-Barbara Nelson