The Torch


By Nancy Lynée Woo

For everyone who knew Markus

He had welcome mats for hundreds in there,
thousands even,
in that boundless room of his heart.

How so many could fit in one man’s ribcage…

We came hungry, we came tired, we came wanting.
We came pumped up, we came energized
and we came ready to move.
However we came, the door was always open,
the green light always on.

He invited us all and our crazy ideas
and little lamb bleats and frantic fears
and grand visions bursting awake
to share wavelengths on an open field—

Here is space to breathe.
Space to be, space to dream,
space to do whatever it is you are driven to do
and don’t you dare forget
to have a party every day.
A lesson in how to be free.
How to dream big in the fluttering imagination
of the day-to-day, too many ideas for one
man to keep to himself, how to love graciously
and move with the tides, how to listen wisely
and go for drinks after a long one
then wake up early
and keep going, keep going, keep going.

His room housed the dreams,
big and small, upside down and diagonal
and brilliant and aching to be seen.
His light helped them grow
and some of us knew
how lucky we were.

His laugh was the hug we needed to believe in ourselves again.
His hug—the pillar of “you can do it” without any words at all.
His words reflected his actions—a rarity in any case
but in his a stadium-sized echo
planting deep in those who heard them.
Because his actions. His actions were spirited and mighty,
genuine and wide, gutsy and kind, infectiously alive
and his life was a gift to us all.

His spirit, colossal from the start
too large for any room to contain,
now stretches out cool blue
then hot red
from the palms of those who had grazed
his affectionate fire
or come across his beam in any way—
a traveling invitation
to those we meet.
A glowing neon web.
A luminous trampoline
dance floor on which
we are all summoned to imagine,
to dare, to do—an irresistible appeal.
A laser-clear network
of believe.

His remarkable spirit calls for us
to explore and honor the think tank of his heart
with our own. To grow all the good things
we want to see in this world. To encourage out
what great ideas are asking to be born. To kick down
the door of our doubt and let free
a big, hearty rumble of a chuckle
at the absurdity of thinking what cannot be done.

He’s gone but he’s here
and he really wants us
to not be too afraid to try.
To be the change we want to see.
To nurture the lives we want to live.
To build it again, this time better.
WE can do it if we dare to experiment
in the lab of how much do we have to give.

The meeting room of that great heart
can fit a whole galaxy of dreamers
scheming and sketching and drawing up
plans, we all know this,
and somewhere out there
on a higher floor,
in some ice cream-colored
office chair, bold frames smirking
windows aglow…

if you listen closely

can you hear a great laugh

s.p a r k i n g

a million lights?


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