"I wrote this poem after Anne Campbell died last October (2022) in which I recall my last meeting with her in her apartment after the condo she lived in was burned down. She kindly gave me a chapbook of hers "The Sound of Blue" as I had read it for her and given her some input."

gillian harding-russell



Mind music: for Anne Campbell


We met you in the foyer of a senior’s high rise

at the edge of winter prairie, flat white snow

interspersed with gold strands to the end of vision,

darkest brown eyes so alive darted towards me

above the black-satin mask, you eager to socialize

though clearly torn, and we’d postponed twice

due to a world epidemic and you immune

compromised. Your home burned in a fluke fire

so homeless you’d moved elsewhere with ‘voluble

though lovely’ youth at a previous apartment

before you settled here at the edge of quietude

We followed you by the coffee shop you described 

as ‘a nice one,’ up an elevator


and down a dim beige corridor you had told us

you couldn’t walk after chemo, had to use

a wheelchair, and I felt the drudgery in that eternal

hallway you’d conquered and was now able to

walk on your own strength as we approached

your door and you unlocked it, sunshine pouring in

the tall window at a depth of sky on this upper story

at the top of the world, awakening blue     solitary

and absorbing      mesmerizing in its beauty

as a god that stepped down into the premises…


and suddenly I understood ‘the sound of blue’ *

as a celestial mind music from an eternal revolving, planets

with their moons      around the stars


You served us strong black tea in good china (Irish

Breakfast Tea, you said) gingersnaps baked fresh

that morning at the ‘nice café,’ licorice allsorts

I remembered from childhood in a white bowl

while we talked for over an hour about books

and people you’d known during your life that crossed

generations, the former famous, writers and politicians

once ordinary folk, and Guy Vanderhaegue’s latest

epic tome, had I read it?