Many inquiries have been leveled at the absence of my father, Dyson Douglas McIllwain, here on his “wordplace” (as he called it) and the many generous web logs to which he had contributed. All noble questions which I had not the strength nor courage to answer. Da loved words as much as he loved to travel, spreading his might and muse every step of the way. He had fallen hard  due to the passing of his cousin and true friend, Iain, two Novembers past. Sadly, he had taken to toasting the occasion a wee bit too frequently and smoking excessively, abusing his emphysema riddled body to extremes.

He had been writing to the very end, fearful that his beloved words would stop before he did. He expressed this well (I think) in the final poem of his scribblings. Father has passed from all of his afflictions and addictions (including his poetry) on 2 Aug 2012. He is no longer “tethered to the heather” as he liked to say. His pipes lay silent. There are no memorials established, nor did Father want any. All he required was the kindness of words to surround his memory. Think kind thoughts of him often. I miss him most dearly.

Kairn McIllwain

These are his last words as written:

IF MY WORDS SHOULD DIE by Dyson Douglas McIllwain

If my words should die afore me,
t’would be the cruelest thing
to ne’er hear their tender voice,
nor hear their fervent ring.

Silence would befall my heart
afore death gathers in,
and as my poor soul shall depart
would leave not clamour, nor din.

The soul from which compassion comes
would wither then and cease,
a muse no longer to express
of heart and mind deceased.

If my words should die afore me
my memory will fade,
the spears and arrows of my fate
will be the price so paid.

But shall I pass afore my words,
then in them I shall live,
for they will speak my final say
and comfort they will give.

They will live as they had lived in me,
much life to give within their breath,
and I am sure I will be remembered
well then after death.



9 responses

  1. Oh, Kairn … I’m stunned and deeply saddened by this news. His words will live on forever in my interview with him at Poetic Bloomings (http://poeticbloomings.com/2012/01/04/web-wednesday-dyson-mcillwain/), on our site, and in our book, “Poetic Bloomings – the first year.” Please know that your father was loved and admired in our little humble group of poets. My heart goes out to you.

    Thank you so very much for finding it in your heart to leave word here for us all.

    God be with you and your family.
    Marie Elena Good

  2. May God bless your family deeply, Kairn. Your father had a gift, and his words will be sorely missed.

  3. Sorry for your loss, Kairn. My condolences to you and your family.

    Thank you for sharing his last poem. It is beautifully written. He will be missed at Poetic Bloomings.

  4. Thank you so much for letting us know about your father Kairn – my deepest condolences on your loss. He was a valued member of the poetic community and we are so lucky to have had him with us – as Marie Elena has indicated, she did a wonderful interview with him on Poetic Bloomings, so many of us felt we got to know him a little bit better through that. Again, thank you for letting us know – I can appreciate how difficult that must have been. May peace be with you. Sharon Ingraham

  5. Peace and comfort to you, Kairn, and to the family and friends your father left behind — in person, and over the wires. He will be missed.

  6. Kairn, I’m deeply saddened by your loss, and ours. I remember your father’s work most fondly and his generous spirit in the comments he offered others. He will be missed among his poet friends. I pray for peace for you and your family.

  7. Thank you all of you wonderful people. I can understand now why my father sought solace in his poetry and the chance to be amongst you all. It is comforting to see the sympathetic comments. We thank you for your kindness. Kairn.

  8. Kairn, there are many more wonderful comments here: http://poeticbloomings.com/2013/03/06/in-memory-of-dyson-douglas-mcillwain/.

    Yes, your father’s heart and words were loved and admired.

    In the near future, we will begin work on our second book, “Poetic Bloomings – the second year.” When you get a moment, will you please e-mail Walter Wojtanik and me at poeticbloomings@yahoo.com? We would like to obtain permission to include “If My Words Should Die.” The book would seem incomplete without your dad’s amazing final work. No pressure, Kairn. Give it some thought.

    Warm smiles …

    Marie Elena

  9. Karin, I’m so very sorry for your lost. His wonderful words will be missed. Thanks so much for sharing his last words with us.

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