Hannah Schalit, 1924-2019
I didn’t discover you were some kind of muse
until you died. How could anyone so difficult –
demanding, contradictory, self-destructive,
biting the hand of friends who tried to help –
prove a mentor it would cost so much to lose,
for all your record of emotional tumult
and that I too often found you so disruptive?
But the image which my memory has developed
hasn’t airbrushed your flaws, but does highlight
the gifts you offered those who could put up
with your sharp angles – in my case, a sense of how
what mattered was the spark I saw ignite
your troubled, troubling, complex, brave make-up;
which proclaimed you the more alive. Both then, and now.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Tom Vaughan would be
pleased to hear them.