Poem for Judy Allan by John Shane

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(In Memoriam Judy Allan)

It’s hard to comprehend that this eye
that seems to look at an apparent world ‘out there’
will someday cease to see

It’s harder still to fully grasp the deeper meaning
of the fact that this apparent ‘I’
that feels its own presence with such certainty
will someday simply cease to be

But just as my bodily eyes saw you, Judy, so, too, the deeper ‘I’ of who I really am
also saw the deeper ‘you’, and the deeper ‘you’, also saw the deeper ‘me’

And we often both laughed together at each other’s everyday pretences
because we both knew that we knew what we knew

So, no matter what confusion the world momentarily manifested for us
in these latter years of our long friendship we always met in mutual recognition
whether we were out walking in the rain on Primrose Hill
or in the scruffy little Tesco’s supermarket here on blessed England’s Lane
or outside the bank, in Belsize Park, where I would often bump into you
while I was rushing up the street to get to the station to catch a downtown train

It didn’t matter where we met
I always felt your love was one and the same
even though I sometimes also felt your underlying pain

And now that you’re gone
leaving us all diminished here
wondering how we will carry on
I wish these words I write had the power
to bring you back again

But as we are all somehow bound
so are we all each somehow freed

And when I remember your many good deeds
and feel the power that comes from such
well-planted positive seeds
even though I still feel a sense of loss
at your having passed on so soon
I know there there really is no need

Though my surprise and grief are not over yet
I try to let go of you without regret

Even though my heart still feels bruised,
in my sadness, I am not confused

I know there never, ever, really was
a fixed and separate ‘you’ to lose

And though the illusory ‘I’ may grieve for the apparent ‘you’
that my earthly eyes can no longer see
the pristine awareness of the natural state reminds me
that there never, ever, really was or ever will be
any such thing as a fixed and solid entity
behind this curiously persistent sense
that there is a truly existent, separate ‘me’

There only ever is one seamless web
in the interdependent nature of reality

Aware of which, awake in the moment each instant
(in fact, this very instant..! )
we can find the true meaning of the word ‘eternity’

All things change, it’s true, but from the point of view
of the state of pure instantaneous presence
time only seems to pass
the world only seems to go on rushing by

And when I still see you so clearly
in my mind’s innermost eye
and am moved to want to give you
one last kiss goodbye
I am reminded to ask myself this:

When we cease utterly our habitual tendency to falsely identify
in what sense does anyone truly exist who could ever really ‘die’….?

When, in life or in what we know as ‘death’, the heart opens
even if it was once held as tightly closed as a hand made into a fist
the clear light of pure awareness arises like the sun that was always there
only temporarily obscured by clouds or by the morning mist

I know how deeply you understood this
so may you now rest in the brilliant radiance
of the natural state
and know bliss


John Shane
Belsize Park, London
28th March 2014

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