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Honour Your Inner Magpie

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"The Declaration" by John M. Ford, and "Response [...]" by Elise Matthesen
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Some of you know that back in 1998, Mike was invited to be Guest of Honor at the Sixth Klingon Year Games, which at that point was a fun and smallish camping event to the southeast of where we live. When discussing possible festivities, one thing led to another, and, well, we had a ceremony. The way Mike put it was, "The Klingon Empire has decided that it is time for us to formalize our relationship," but truly, I was the one who asked him. Which means he takes my house name, or line name -- sorry, I am not thinking all that clearly just now, and the nomenclature has fallen out of my head. Anyhow, he wrote a lovely set of vows for us, which he titled "Declaration of Unity," and printed up a little program-booklet with that and a poem I had written for him earlier called "Response to an Unwritten Poem of Yours Called 'Sorrow for Breathing'". As Mr. Ford said himself, in writing, "This Declaration may be used by others wishing to make such a statement. The author politely requests a word of acknowledgement and, perhaps, the turn of a glass at the celebration." Here are the two things, together, as they were together in the booklet; as he was fine with me posting them to various Klingon and Trek-related places before, I am confident that he and his literary executor would be fine with me doing so now. Also, well, I seem to need to just now, so here they are.
The Declaration

If any should ask why we are here, together, now, let it be said that we were brought here by a force stronger than suns, which is Will.
Ours was not a random course, though chance strengthened it.
We were not always sure of the way, and some of our steps have been slow, but our next step spans worlds.
Time will not stop for the strongest: and though we must go where it takes us, without companions chosen by the will and the heart, the journey is empty, and there is nothing to measure the victories by.

One partner: I stand here with you because together we possess infinity in a finite space of time, and our combined reach surpasses the mortal.

Other partner: I stand here with you because we have seen in each other a shared task: and though the void may separate us, and matter must always fail, we shall never truly be apart, one from the other.

Together we take joint and equal command of the time still before us, to watch and to defend, to endure the cold and the fire, to stand until the last.
For against that power armies are as nothing, and Death itself comes begging and ashamed.

Each partner in turn: None commanded that I should be here: I willed it be.
Let strength and joy follow from it.

As light spreads from the birth of a star, so the stars surrounding see it, and remember.
What they cannot do is judge.
Judgement comes only from the mind and heart.
For that, we are here among all of you.
Let noble wills magnify the light.
Answer us, and know the stars hear you:
Is this well done?

-- John M. Ford, 1998


Response to an Unwritten Poem of Yours Called "Sorrow for Breathing"

You tell me I should not love you
should not;
You'll only bring me sorrow,
only die on me.

"I need what you give me
more than I need sunlight,"
you say,
I tell you I've always suspected
your vampiric nature.
You laugh.

"How could I not love you?"
you say.
"As well not take in air, as well
not breathe;
to sorrow for loving you would be
like sorrow for breathing."
And you take my outstretched hand,
drawing me on
to another city,
another chapter,
another of the long lamplit nights
where we pause, panting for breath,
waiting for the quill of the chronicler
to catch up.

"As well not live as not love,"
I say to you.
As well try to convince the lungs
not to draw in that next
measure of air
as teach my hand not to reach
for the curve of your cheek,
my foot not to take that
next step
bringing me into the circle
of your arms.

Each breath, you remind me,
is one closer
to the time when all the breath there is
will do one of us no good,
and the other of us will turn alchemist
transmuting good air to sobs
or sighs
or silence

Each step is one closer,
is one more bead on the string
that leads to the dangling cross
of grieving.
The tiny carved features look up at me.
As well not love as deny this grief,
wrapped in the joy of what is
like a sweet the color of garnets
wrapped in bright foil.
I finger the beads,
listen to your warnings,
hearing under them
your need,
your desire.

"I am not sorry for loving you,"
you say,
and I know you are thinking
of inevitable losses.
You conjure a smile from somewhere.
Our eyes meet.
And still
that pinned figure
arms splayed, mouth in rictus,
swings at the end of the string.

There are mystics who talk
about Peace in the Passion.
There are country folk who walk the fields
after the storm,
watching for the bow
across the sky
and the sparkle of rain
on bent stalks.

I remember the night
you brandished an imaginary clock at me,
"Look at the hands!
You can see them move. Is
what you want?"

What I want
is all
of this: each breath,
each step,
each bead on the string,
and the cross, too,
if that's part of the deal.

"Only another fifty years,"
I say, "and then I promise
to let you go."

"I can't guarantee you five,"
you rasp, waving
at the bottles of meds
on your tray.
"Hell, I can't
guarantee you five months." And I
catch your hand in mine
and say, "No one
ever could, dear heart,
ma croidhe.
But as well not breathe,
as not love."

Amd whichever ending
the chronicler writes,
pray one of us
will have the wit
to step outside whatever small room
shelters that private passion play,
stand in the cool night,
look up,
and draw in
a lungful of stars.

-- Elise Matthesen, sometime around 1995 or 6

I love him. I miss him. I will love him forever.
(And, you see, both of us knew what we were getting into. Hearing me say that, he would smile, I know. It would be a smile of agreement.)
OK. Am going to go sleep now, and wake to do the things that need doing.
Tags: , ,

I don't know your husband and I don't know his work at all. I was drawn to this because a very close friend of mine died last year (her name was kielle) and she might have been a fan of his, I'm not sure. But it comforts me to think that wherever he went, she and other deceased fans/fen/friends are greeting him and asking him to tell them a story. Or maybe they're playing an RPG based off of one of his books. Or something like that.

his words and your words are beautiful.
I've only met you once, and Mike not at all, but I know you through words and art and stories, and I love you both.

Dear Ms. Matthesen,

May your memories of your loved one remain evergreen forever.

As a gamer and sci-fi fan, I had heard of his passing, and was shocked and saddened. I'd read as many of his published works as I could get ahold of, and was never disappointed. Nor did I ever hesitate to recommend them to others. Similarly, his gamer articles in the AADA and Space Gamer were always innovative, and the short fiction that occasionally accompanied them a delight.

However, it was not until a few minutes ago that I learned that he had a partner and that you had a LJ account, and I wished to express my belated respect. Mr. Ford had a great and positive impact on many people and made the world a better place with his varied works.

Best Wishes.

I didn't meet you until after Mike was gone (actually, it was at VPX.) I only saw the grief of 'after.' I'm familiar with that grief, my dear. Quite familiar. For me, it will be twenty-two years come November. Grief, like love, never really fades. How could it? For grief to fade, love would have to as well. But it takes other forms, forms that become joys in their own right. And you will find yourself, a decade later, a thousand years later, weeping softly over some small detail you've suddenly remembered, like that he loved cream soda. And it is fresh again, that sorrow. Ebb and flow, sweetheart. Ride the tide as it takes you. Eventually, you end up back on the sand, even if you've been tumbled about a bit.

I missed this (life has been hectic). I recall discovering, with more than a bit of shock, that the author, I read of the death of, was the Mike Ford of ML.

No more comfort than the sharing, of our disparate, grievings; and memories, can I offer.

This is a beauty and a sadness that brings tears to my eyes and catches my breath.

Test, just a test

Hello. And Bye.

Re: Test, just a test

You spammers are the reason that this entire journal is now using screening on all comments.

Have you any idea what the post you are commenting on means?

The Year Games, and Mike, and the naked stars

Hi Elise, we haven't spoken in years, since a Dragoncon, I think, when you and Mike and Jett and I and some others went out to eat at a Red Lobster(?). We're just back from the 16th Year Games, and you and Mike were toasted and talked about as you are every year. Meeting the two of you was something we treasure, the fact that we got along and could just talk a prize on top of that. I(Jack) am not one to mourn, I rejoice in the people that touch my life, and have rejoiced that I got to know Mike, if only for a while. As we, who take his words perhaps a bit too seriously at times, like to say, He will be Remembered. Jack and Jett Borkowski for the Klingon Year Games

Re: The Year Games, and Mike, and the naked stars

Jack and Jett -

Thank you so much for this message. Mike was so glad to have gone to the Year Games, and talked about it afterwards with pleasure, especially hanging out with you two. It means a lot to know he will be Remembered. Many good wishes to both of you and to the whole bunch down there, and I hope to see you all again some day.


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