Bobby the Lip

All day Facebook admonished me to help celebrate my friend Robert Lipton’s birthday, so I share this poem written in his memory. It was published in Silkworm, the annual review of Florence Poets Society, last year.

Sharing this makes me think about a lot of things, including (1) I wrote a poem with a word I can barely pronounce (paean) in Bob's honor (guffaw), (2) I hear his words in my head "Death, the great poetry prompt" as I listen to this, and (3) I miss Bob.

I pulled this fortune
the day you died:
  What is the distance
  between the eyes and the soul?
You know the answer.
How did you learn to pronounce
the hard words, which goddesses
are whom, the rhythm of line breaks?
We all listened. Did you know?
Your paean to women made me wish
such words were strung together
and hung on my limbs.
Now you travel that distance,
somehow we expect you to report back.
We will miss your soul, your lip.


  1. This is so good and timely for me too. I love the part about you wanting his words to hang from your limbs and how you are expecting a report back.

  2. Such a great tribute.. not least the rhythm of the line breaks....

  3. A lovely tribute, really enjoyed seeing you read it in the video. Beautiful landscape behind you! Thanks for sharing.

  4. A lovely lovely poem, and wonderful tribute. k.

  5. Each part of this poem touches the heart and mind: the fortune, the questions, things learnt and the sum of missing a friend.

  6. Lovingly conceived and delivered. Great "scenery" as well!

  7. This is fabulous, and I wish he could report back. Gorgeous backdrop for your recorded piece, kiddo. How you must miss him, he sounds amazing.

    1. He was the very definition of curmudgeon! I learned a great deal from Bob and really valued our connection.

  8. Luv the video reading, hearing your words an reading them a double delight
    Sadly though no report back in the realm of reality. All answers will be heard from the heart

    much love...

  9. I should say this was recorded last autumn (2015) at Art in the Orchard in Easthampton, Massachusetts. That's Mt. Tom in the background. I live on the other side of town, in the shadow of the mountain. :)

  10. Very aptly devised in the video Marian and a great tribute! Wonderful scene must be the same the other side too!


  11. This is how old friends speak across the distance. Whatever in you was touched by that poet reaches wonderfully back here. You sure live in a pretty neck of our woods. (Who wouldn't sing?)

  12. A beautiful tribute to your friend. Thankfully he will never be silent. His voice continues to speak through his work.

  13. The Lip, perfect. "Words strung together and hung on my hips," divine. There is no greater gift, whether in life or in death, to give a friend than a tribute such as this. Bobby must have been something! Thanks, Marian. Amy

  14. Valediction, done right.

  15. Beautifully written; I felt I got a sense of the real man.

  16. I really like the last line, especially after reading your note.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!