In deep November there is disbelief
A loss of faith that winter, not yet here,
Will go about its business and be brief.
Instead the season generates a fear
That winter, once in place will stay that way
Forever–cold and bleak, cheerless and stark–
As icy blasts relentlessly hold sway,
Consigning us forever to the dark.
But then December comes along, and lo!
What lights are these that sparkle, clear and bright?
Instead of darkness, there’s a happy glow
Of red and green that glistens through the night,
And where we feared that coldness might prevail
The warmth of love tells quite a different tale!
–R. Glenn Martin
Glenn was my ED Curriculum and Instruction ( i.e., how to teach English) prof at U of A in 1971-2 A.D. He published my first articles in Alberta English, notably one on Canadian literature. Glenn was a generally genial gentleman and a long-time friend. He was a Harvard grad and took a class with Robert Frost who encouraged the students to write poetry. (Frost sent him a Christmas card.) Glenn and I shared a great love of poetry and we often talked of Emily Dickinson. In his last good year, I escorted him to the Edmonton Symphony and we dined out each time. The last time I saw him in hospital, he was happily in his own world, but sort of recognized me and whistled (quite accurately) the melody of a Beethoven piece. (His favorite composer on whom he lectured via a U of Ex Extension class.) It was my honour to read the eulogy at his funeral. He was a brilliant, witty, kind man who talked me into staying in my first/junior high student teaching round when I wanted to quit. After that, I was the only one who ever sent him a Xmas card every year, something he noted and appreciated. One of my literary heroes and major influences, remembered this winter morn.