This won’t be easy. That’s the point. Rory was a one-off. There has never been a doctor like him, nor will there ever be. He died on Friday. I went to his ‘removal’ - more a walk up to his open coffin - yesterday. Tears through my body.
I’ll never get on with the poem if I dwell on what it felt like for me…
These are his death notices: here, & The Irish Times
Rory Lehane (this is your first draft… there will be many)
You are a difficult man to write
a person without parallel,
a cluster of energy
that has never been seen
in my lifetime…
I walk from your graveside:
that pile of stones and earth yours,
those flowers here for you.
You rest below the surface,
deep in the minds
of your congregations.
A church service,
a nave full of prayers.
How can I compare you,
put you in context,
encapsulate you in frame,
reach you with words
that limit you?
Waiting for you to arrive was a public experience:
the surgery, the hole in the wall
through which a secretary frowned.
You were late back from seeing someone.
I had no idea where you’d been,
you were a mystery to me.
And then you came
with undoctorly energy.
- I came to know your entrances
as a returning warrior
bustled back to court
with the glow of battle
for the noble cause.
Your crumpled pinstripes,
the way you leant back in the chair,
"I’ll tend to your mind".
You stood beside me
as I lost my mind
and clung for your grip.
I showed you my prescription,
you offered another medication:
attention, attention, attention.
Your computer screen,
your toyful practice,
your complete disregard of time.
A waiting room full of a queue,
didn’t matter to you,
attender to people.
No time for the niceties of convention,
you did your doctoring your way
on your terms
No selfish bone in body,
you were an absolute giver:
you gave away love
as if it was simply
I’m told of fabulous fingers,
piano in Douglas golf club.
I imagine you never used a driver,
or pitched into the 18th:
for me, you were a clubhouse man,
You composed love in a consulting room:
every crotchet that visited you
joined into a melody.
They came in staves,
clinging to lines they’d learned
from childhood days.
You closed the door on the past,
fixed me with an eye that wrapped.
Brought me into the moment,
I heard your assurance:
"we are going to fix you,
I am here for you:
you are a special case."
Oh, Rory Lehane,
you had so many special cases.
I found an inventor
the day I stumbled into your general practice.
You took my child into your heart,
as if she was your own…
Now I am getting more pleased with it: it is closer to saying what I want to say to Rory. [The first draft said: "And there I stop. It is too general. There is no enough Rory detail there. But it is good because it it what came straight out of me the first time I tried to write down my response to Rory." ]