To Brian Keena on his 50th birthday

September 16, 2009

Brian Keena and I grew up in an inconsequential town in northern New Jersey, where we were in the same first grade class and have been friends ever since. Today he celebrates his fiftieth birthday. His radio show, the “Jazz Messenger,” can currently be heard on WTJU, Charlottesville, Fridays at 10:30 A.M. Eastern Standard Time.

What though the passing toll of years
should carry dreams away,
and sequences of hopes and fears
leave tell-tale hairs of grey?
The lines that time may trace
upon an honest face
beatify the whole
and show the inner soul.

As when a sculptor takes a block
of marble from a hill
and chips away unwanted rock
and forms it to his will,
the patterns in the mass
of what should come to pass
must guide his hand and eye
if beauty he’d espy;

So God, with perfect inner sight
and time his sculptor’s blade,
removes whatever he deems right
to show of what we’re made.
And we ourselves also
become what we don’t know
and, through our Maker’s art,
receive a deeper heart.

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