A physician instructs Tom not just to get himself to the hospital, but to do so “fast,” having told him he's having a heart attack. In the second stanza, Heighton's narrator joins a community of concerned friends, finding the wounded Tom “by chance.” In the concluding stanzas, however, we begin to appreciate the deeper meaning of the poem, whose title belies the form. Heighton has taken the opening quatrain of “Glosa” from the translation of a verse by Callimachus, a Greek poet of North African birth, on the death of Greek philosopher Heraclitus. I wept when I remembered How often you and I Had tired the sun with talking And sent it down the sky Callimachus’ words are a tribute to a mentor, and so is Heighton’s poem, written, he suggests, from a “babbling novice.” The narrator walks with his slowly dying mentor through the streets of Kingston, Ontario, tiring the sun with talking, until Tom’s marrow turns to song.
Steven Heighton is a critically acclaimed novelist and poet. He lives with his family in Kingston, Ontario. Visit Stephen Heighton's website: www.stevenheighton.com/