Au revoir…


Beauty comes in many a guise.

He loved Beauty.

Mayhap, ‘tis why they loved one another.

For both were beautiful, inside and out.

Some say they were mimetic

Each reflecting the other.

I believe they were symbiotic.


When he saw Gaudi in Barcelona

He decided he would be an architect

For the beauty of lines.


He loved books. So did I. Did we.

What can be more beautiful

Than a book? Well-read. Worn-out.

Full of sand and grime.

Or leather-bound from centuries past.

We both liked Paul Auster and

Frank Herbert’s Dune, the desert planet.

He knew all about Muad’dib and

The Reverend Mothers of the Bene Gesserit :

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.*

He loved music from Jazz to Radiohead

To Blues to Dépêche Mode…

Music is one of Beauty’s incarnations.


He’d found that secret place at the end of the world.

A Finis Terrae called The Capes.

Cabo San Lucas to the West

San José del Cabo to the East.

If you sail down straight on South

You will reach Antartica.


He liked graphic novels.

What the French and Belgian call BD,

Bande dessinée. The ninth Art.

He admired French artist Moebius

Aka Jean Giraud. A most talented sketch artist,

Moebius-Giraud would have drawn The Capes well.


His keen, bright eyes observed the world

Twice as much as he talked.

Most talk twice as much

As they should.


He’d come to the Capes with a few friends.

He so loved Friendship, another name for Beauty.

A big reddish house, with a large terrace

Overlooking the Sea of Cortez

Wild hares springing about in the nearby desert.


Dune might have looked so:

Arid, dry hills sloping down gently towards the sea.

Meagre shrubbery. Lone cacti.

Many birds. Of all shapes and hues.

He knew the names of all birds of prey.

Hawks, falcons, eagles.


I saw an eagle ten yards away

Gliding low above the beach.

Two feet wide. Almost black from head to talons,

The tips of each wing creamy white

As if the eagle wore gloves.

I don’t know the eagle’s name.


He’d found a lone beach at the end of that world.

Half an hour’s ride on a dirt road.

A small beach, two or three hundred yards wide maybe?

To the right, a low rocky hill tumbles into the sea.

To the left, a sandy hill, all cracked and parched by the sun

Leads you to the second beach.

No one there. Just the sand.

Bits and pieces of a dying coral reef.

And a gentle sea crashing softly.


There are fairy chimneys everywhere

On the slopes of the desert.

A line of rocks closes the beach to the left.

A beach? A creek, really.

This one and a few others form a necklace

Of beaches into a wider bay.

The Beauty of the sea.


They sat on the white sandy beach.

Old friends chatting, laughing or saying nothing

As only good friends can enjoy silence.

They may have played a game or two of football.

What the entire world calls football

And only a handful insist on calling soccer.

He was a good player, came back every Sunday

With his fair share of cuts and bruises.

They talked, and smiled, and laughed.

Watching the eagles and the sea.

Happiness is another name for Beauty.


As the afternoon lingered away

Some set out for a stroll.

He went swimming.

He was a good swimmer

And liked to snorkel around

In the crystal-clear shallow waters.


But Death, the eternal jealous enemy

Was hiding in the beautiful sea

And took him away from the woman he loved.

From all who loved him.


In loving memory of our Son-in-law, Andres, who left us in Los Cabos on May 6th.

Au revoir Andres. There are no other words to say but Au revoir.


L. to R. Andres and our daughter Virginie, aka Gini.

And au revoir to you too my lovely E-Friends. E as in Extraordinaire. Bloggers, writers, artists, travelers, all poets of words, feelings, images and thoughts. You are among the most “extraordinaire” people I have (n)ever met. I… need to take a break from blogging. ‘Don’t know for how long, right now, I just can’t think of anything to post. I suppose I could. There is plenty of material at the ready… but… I can’t. It may take me a while or days, weeks, or months, some time. Je ne sais pas. Meanwhile, we here have to lick our wounds. Maybe I will go back to writing the few stories that have been whispering in my head for a while. Maybe I’ll be back next week. Or some other time. I don’t know.

Au revoir then my friends. So long, fare thee well. Adios. Watch your back.

*The “Litany against fear” was written by Frank Herbert. In the sixties I think. If you go back to those words, you will find they are good, powerful words. Fear is just another name for Death. Now, change the word Fear for Sorrow. And read it again:

We must face our Sorrow, and we will permit it to pass over us and through us…


72 thoughts on “Au revoir…

  1. Brian, my heart breaks for you and your family reading this. He is smiling I’m sure, reading this lovely piece filled with so much heart and beauty. Sending healing thoughts and prayers and I’ll be waiting your return, until then, peace my friend. Heart to heart, K

  2. Where are those words when you most need them…
    My heart goes out to all of you, especially to Gini.
    Be strong!
    May his soul rest in peace…

    • Merci mon ami. Words are just words. I have thought about you on those terrible days. And our discussion on Hope. Well, Hope has died. So if it is the las thing to die, what next? I confess my strength has gone. And we can only take it one day at a time. Take care of yourself Dragos. And thank you for your words and feelings.

      • Cher ami, you can’t afford to lose your strength – the whole family needs you. You’re wise enough to cope with everything graciously, I know that. And yes, things will settle down day by day.
        I lost my aunt on February 1st, she was my main support and more of a mother than the one who brought me into this world. So I know how it is. One day at a time. (E-)Friends will be here when you need them. Until then I’ll be sending good thoughts to all of you. Hope to see you back soon.

      • I’ll be around. And I’m really sorry about your aunt. As we grow older, those who raised us go away. Hopefully after a long, full life. It is when the young go first that something is not right. But then is anything ever right? What was your aunt’s name?
        (And yes, day by day. Though some days weigh tons)
        Be good.

      • Nature doesn’t know right or wrong, it just goes on its own way. Things happen – only us, humans, label them as good or bad. But labels never change the facts and that’s what we have to deal with. Each of us in our own manner. Memories and feelings…
        She was Elena. About to turn 80 this August. Lonely, unfulfilled life. Andres was lucky, he was loved by the whole family. Heavy days like anchors that we drag around forever, hoping they’ll lose weight in time. And slowly they do… sometimes…
        May we all find peace of mind. Take care, mon ami…

      • We will, eventually. Find some peace. And I agree about labels. My first two years of University, my philosophy programme (one of many wide-ranging courses) dealt with “Illusion”. That was the main theme. Supported by lightweight authors such as Shakespeare, Corneille, Freud, Marx, Sartre and others… ’tis all but an illusion. Sorry about Elena. Don’t know enough about her life. She had you, for one. 🙂 You too take care. This has been a hard year for you. A bientôt.

    • Thank you Renxkyoko Iglesias. Since I know that is not your name I will now call you “Connie” as in Consuelo Iglesias. 🙂 Watch your back Connie. Cuídate.

  3. I am sorry for your loss. A grand testament to someone clearly loved and greatly missed. I hope you and your family find peace as best you can in your sorrow. Know that we readers will wait as you heal, we will not rush such an important task. Best wishes, loving hugs. Scottie

    • Thank you Scottie. I know by past (and sorry) experiences that Time is both the eternal thief and the great healer. But this will take a lot of time. Be good. Watch your back and your loved ones’. Hug. B.

  4. How devastating for you and your family. And what a beautiful tribute. Can’t imagine what this has been like for all of you. Be good to each other right now. I know you will -but it feels like the only thing I can offer. Will think good thoughts for you and your family from Vancouver Island.

    • Thank you “Lullu”. I know that is not your name and you have already told me, but… I seem to have holes in my memory as well as my soul. One of my son-in-law’s brothers actually lives in Vancouver. He flew over. But there was nothing he or anyone could do. Just words and thoughts. Thank you for yours. Brian

      • Again, this sounded so tragic. I will contine to think good thoughts for you and your family. (I know -these won’t bring him back.) Some things are just hard and heartbreaking and we stumble our way through them by the skin of our teeth. Laura (LULLUE)

      • Laura! That’s right. The L is committed to memory. Thank you for your thoughts. It is a way, the only way to fill the hole. 🙂 And go through another day. As I looked back at your blog, I remember the High Line. A masterpiece my daughter enjoyed a lot when she lived in NY and showed us on one of our visits.
        Skin of our teeth? Hadn’t heard that expression in a while. Yes. It is basically that.
        Take good care of yourself and yours, Laura.

  5. Brian. Your words are perfect. They ache. My heart breaks for you and your family and your daughter. I’ve always thought if I were to die I would hope it would be on a perfect day like the one you described. I hope there is some tiny solice in that in a time where one searches for any meaning or happiness.

    Take your time to take care of yourself and your family. E-hugs from my family to yours.

    • Thank you Jenny. How very right about the “perfect day”. I hadn’t realized that. Though I must confess that it has marred my vision of the sea. I grew up by the sea. And now I’m not sure I can ever go back to the sea. As usual only time will tell. Again thank you for your thoughts and E-hugs back to all your family.

      • I can totally understand the new vision of the sea. I can’t imagine that would be what he would want for you but it would be hard to think otherwise if I were you.

      • So many things have changed in just a few hours. A few days. There are things I can’t look back at in the same way. As always it will take time. “With a little help from (our) friends”. (Joe Cocker’s Woodstock version) thank you.

      • Thank you Jenny. We do appreciate all your support. But don’t let it get to you. Look at baby Colin and smile. (If he sees you sad, he will detect it) 🙂

      • And they must be too. 🙂 Babies have a way to take all our worries away. Now, “happy as a clam”? Never heard that expression before. In French it is “silent as a clam”. 😉

      • The internet saves the day…

        There is a website that helps one understand the origin of phrases…

        Why would clams be happy? It has been suggested that open clams give the appearance of smiling. The derivation is more likely to come from the fuller version of the phrase, now rarely heard – ‘as happy as a clam at high water’. Hide tide is when clams are free from the attentions of predators; surely the happiest of times in the bivalve mollusc world. The phrase originated in the north-eastern states of the USA in the early 19th century. The earliest citation that I can find is from a frontier memoir The Harpe’s Head – A Legend of Kentucky, 1833:

        “It never occurred to him to be discontented… He was as happy as a clam.”

      • Thanks for this origin. I love idiomatic expressions. Some are similar in many languages. Some regions have unique sayings. This one, I think is from the South (of the Mason Dixon line): “Poor as church mice”

  6. My most heartfelt condolences to you, to your daughter Virginie and to your entire family. I don’t know about the others but I’ll be ‘here’ when you’ll come back.


    • Thank you Gladys. Eventually I will. There is so much human quality in most the people we E-meet. Hard to stay away. Also hard to think about a post… A bit empty there. Right now I’m just answering all of you for kind words.
      As my Brit friend Roger said as we set up to climb Mont-Blanc: “One (bl–dy) step at a time). Be good.

      • 🙂 It’s called time-difference. Though Greenwich has managed to establish itself at the centre of the world (that will be a major issue in the Brexit negotiation: switch at last to PMT: Paris Mean Time).
        This being Mexico, we are always late. 6 hours late to be precise… Hence the absence.

    • Merci Agnès. Et oui, Dune. Je peux dire que j’ai été sur Dune et j’en suis revenu… Si je devais en faire un film un jour c’est ce lieu que prendrai.

  7. Oh Brian, I’m so sorry for this tragic loss. What a beautiful tribute to your son-in-law. I can’t imagine the sorrow that you all must feel. The empty silence of grief is so all-consuming. It’s perfectly normal to need a break to process the loss. Take care of yourself, mon ami. Your readers will be here when you feel ready to return.

    • Thank you Julie. “Ce qui se conçoit bien s’énonce clairement, et les mots pour le dire viennent aisément.” I think he would have liked the words. So many people (to begin with my daughter) have written and said so many beautiful words in this sad occasion. Yes, silence is all-consuming. Though it does bring peace too. So, a balance must be struck between words and silence.
      Thank you for your words. You are still going to Angers in July, right? A little over a month. A bientôt mon amie.

  8. Dearest Brian, I have no words, I feel they’re all useless. Please forgive me, all that comes to mind is this thought, if we know the pain of death, then we have experienced the joy of love. Please take good care of yourself and your family. Much love to you, Mia

    • Mia dear, no worry, we are all at a loss for words. Though, another to look at that is to think that he left a big hole in all of us, yet, yet, that hole is filled with light. So, yes, he gave us much love. Thank you and the same to you.

  9. Oh now wait…okay let me explain. I was settled in to read plural posts of yours (as I do) when my eye caught ‘Au Revoir’ in the side panel – the heart sunk a little as being a long-termer I’m used to seeing this with bloggers and I abandoned the 3rd post I was reading and clicked to see what ‘Au Revoir’ was actually referring to.
    Saw what I thought was a poem titled ‘Au Revoir’.
    Was relieved and distracted and didn’t read said ‘poem’ as I don’t really like poems. Then was distracted further by *gulp!* He IS abandoning us after all (at the end).
    In all the slow un-veiling of info I didn’t see that your son in law had died. Very sorry to hear that. My belated condolences. (And the poem was a lovely tribute in the end, as only you could write.)

    • Quite all right. I realize the ending was a bit… abrupt. Couldn’t help it. Ran it with my family before posting it. And the form? I don’t “do” poetry. I write fiction or non-fiction. I suck at poetry. So I avoid it. But the form, the rhythm, came to me as the words came to my head. Sitting or walking that beach. As I saw the eagle. All the images imprinted forever on my retina I’m afraid. And when I sat down to write, I felt a rhymeless poem was probably the best way to tell that story with no rhyme nor reason.
      Thank you for your thoughts, words, and feelings. I hope you and yours are well. 🙂
      Yours ever, Cecil.

    • No worry, my dear Edith. (I saw your other comments on my phone, earlier on) And at any rate, those are precisely the circumstances when one has to keep a stiff upper lip. I just cracked a very bad joke with my daughter over the phone. She smiled. 🙂
      Again: don’t you worry.

    • Obrigado Paulinha. Peace well received.
      Mais na verdade só ficao as palavras do Tom Jobim:
      “Tristeza nao tem fim
      “Felicidade… sim.”
      Beijo e abraço.
      J’espère que toi et les tiens vont bien.

  10. Toutes mes condoléances à Vous, tous … Il faut laisser le temps faire son oeuvre ….. mais je sais que nous sommes nombreux à attendre ton retour …

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