Thursday, 16 June 2011


News came to me today of the death of a friend, the poet David Keeffe, or Manjusvara, since he took refuge in a Buddhist order.

Not the last time I saw him, but my abiding memory is of him sitting on the wee platform I set up ten years ago in the glade at the hut garden. It's not really a glade, but it's the only place in our canopy that the sun shines all of the day. Manjusvara was on a kitchen chair, on the platform reading, as I remember, someone else's long life and love affair with a garden. He sat in his red braces with his hearing aids on (he became increasingly deaf and full of joyful mis-hearings) and a cup of tea close to hand. As I see him now, he is still there, head bent in concentration over the page, taking in the rare long afternoon summer sun in hut silence, quietly, composed and still.

Larach Beag, the hut, is hard to find. I like it that way. Many people have told me they will visit; but few do. Some say they tried to find the hut, but gave up.
I realise now that of the very small handful of visitors who have arrived over the years (it has averaged one every two years), they have all been artists or poets: Takaya Fujii, Alec Finlay, Pam Sandals, Larry Butler, Bryan Evans, Ann Russell, Jan Nimmo. 
Some folk are wired to find the unfindable, taking a slow and intentional lifetime to look. Manjusvara, David, was one of these.

That afternoon's warmth remains in the seat of the chair and in the grace of the teacup he carefully washed after use.