Monday, September 29, 2008

A Tribute to TONY VAUGHAN by Ana Elsner

Ana Elsner pays tribute to poet and musician TONY VAUGHAN

On the night of September 27, 2008, the San Francisco literary community lost one of its most forthright, giving, gentle and beloved members, the poet, artist and musician

Tony Vaughan

(July 14, 1947 - September 27, 2008)

Cancer struck him down and took him from us, but his courageous spirit and his compassion for all living things lives on in his legacy of poems and paintings and in the hearts of all who knew him. We publish here a poem that was written by his fellow poet ANA ELSNER and is a tribute to Tony, his life and work, and his sojourn on this earth.

(Photo above: Tony Vaughan performs at the UCSF Cancer Center, Healing Garden Music Series)

by Ana Elsner

so much
so much

so much
so much


the tyranny
of love and tenderness
and lapping
at the shore of consciousness;

this valiance
of gingerly rebelling against
the intimacy
of a merciless reality

in soft words
in gentle song
in pastels
on paper;


on a whiff of the herb,
on a whim of the soul,
on the threadbare sole
of street-corner anonymity
and bus-stop penance;

retracing your footprints,
in the un-cured clay of mind,

and always seeking by feel,
by feel;

wagering in the currency
of song,
of poem,
of shape and color,

at times half-veiled in riddles
and distant echoes,

yet decoded to all those
who hold the key of
shared mysticism and wonderment.

You navigated
the un-fathom-able BEING of it all
with stubborn tenacity

while doing battle with the ever-present
specter of resignation.

You kept on moving,
kept on riding the rails,
kept on strumming your guitar,
perhaps to an inattentive crowd,

kept on sketching and re-sketching
the outer reaches
of self.

I call you POET

I call you FRIEND

I call you BROTHER


© Ana Elsner

A reading by Ana Elsner
One of the poems that Ana Elsner reads
in this video recording
is her poem Tony Vaughan

[Click image above to play video]


At a gathering of friends Ana Elsner reminisces:

"I see Tony sitting across from me at a table outside Café Trieste. I don't remember him ever sitting inside the café. Always outside, with his hat on. He has just taken his guitar out of the beat-up case and cradles it in his lap, while continuing our conversation. Then, almost subconsciously, he fingers a few riffs. He tells me about his novel and the ongoing struggle he has with it, a sort of love/hate relationship with (his) life. I buy him a glass of wine. Later we walk a few steps up Vallejo Street to where the steep alley goes down to Broadway and share a smoke. We are not in a hurry. It's only late afternoon. A fogbank is pouring over the top of Russian Hill. We shiver just a little. But we don't care."

Ana Elsner remembers George Tsongas, another poet who was dear to her.


1 comment:

raven said...

Thank you for this tribute to Tony. He was born
June 15th, 1947 --not July. He was a Gemini.
Olga Osborne


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