by Ralph Leighton
Once upon a time, not so long ago,
There lived two great men.
They were different in many ways,
And eerily similar in some.
One came of age in the Second World War;
The other came of age during Vietnam.
One worked with numbers;
The other worked with notes.
Both were astute observers of the human condition.
They redefined their fields:
One with squiggly diagrams
That no one understood—at first;
The other with squiggly overtones
That no one understood—at first.
Both were fascinated by a lost land
Deep in the heart of Asia
Where a lonely shepherd on a windswept plain
Could sing a duet with his own voice,
Communing with Nature.
Both dreamed of reaching Kyzyl
And meeting a man named Ondár
Who would reach out with a smile
And make his guest feel at home.
Both journeyed deep into their worlds
And returned with spellbinding tales:
Sparking ecstasies of insight;
Laughter and joy in understanding.
Both lived life on their own terms.
Both died too soon.
Both changed me forever.
A physicist and a bluesman:
Shamanic in their powers.