Remembering Kate Light: Gone too Soon

Kate Light, poet, violinist, and librettist, died unexpectedly of breast cancer. Too young, too talented to die, she had so many plans in the works, so much she was looking forward to. One of the many fine poets with whom I was still unfamiliar despite her having been featured on the Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Despite being a poet who wrote in forms, and highly regarded. A brief selection from her many wonderful poems.

There Comes the Strangest Moment

There comes the strangest moment in your life,
when everything you thought before breaks free–
what you relied upon, as ground-rule and as rite
looks upside down from how it used to be.

Skin’s gone pale, your brain is shedding cells;
you question every tenet you set down;
obedient thoughts have turned to infidels
and every verb desires to be a noun.

I want–my want. I love–my love. I’ll stay
with you. I thought transitions were the best,
but I want what’s here to never go away.
I’ll make my peace, my bed, and kiss this breast…

Your heart’s in retrograde. You simply have no choice.
Things people told you turn out to be true.
You have to hold that body, hear that voice.
You’d have sworn no one knew you more than you.

How many people thought you’d never change?
But here you have. It’s beautiful. It’s strange.

The Self-Taught Man

A man schooled to bits bears a son, and the son
says, No way will I walk where you’ve walked,
and be taught in the methods you’ve been taught.
I want to find out everything on my own!
You see the beauty of it: this son’s untamed,
unbitten, unashamed; head-strong and heart-led,
people come to view him: the self-fed
man! He’s in a niche that stays unnamed
because it’s all his own. And you are drawn
to this one like a horse to water — drink drink drink
beside the self-taught man; listen to him think
as only he can. After he is gone
from the spot you linger, licking your wounds and scars,
because the son listens only, only to the stars.


6 thoughts on “Remembering Kate Light: Gone too Soon

  1. Two really beautiful poems. I met and spoke with Kate two or three times. And not only to do I remember those conversations, but bshe did too! Kate was, among other things, a great listener. I remember our conversations because I knew I was speaking with someone really special. Thanks, Siham. I hadn’t read these before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Rick, I can see that in her face, a certain radiance that comes from within. Wish I’d been able to meet her. In fact, sadly, I wasn’t aware of her beautiful poetry until hearing of her death. Plus being an accomplished violinist and librettist. At least she leaves behind a beautiful legacy, and appreciation from all who knew her.


  2. I published and edited her books at Story Line Press. She was an exquisite soul, an empathetic, generous being more like a beautiful flower than most flowers I’ve known. I cherish every moment I spent with Kate, and I selfishly wish she was still here among us to throw more light upon the dark.


    • Thank you for your beautiful comment. It is true that the very best people leave behind an impression of their grace and light. She certainly was well-named. We also have her poetry. Your involvement in publishing helped being that to fruition so the world can still read her work where her soul shines through.


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