In Memory of my friend, Olin Davis, author of “Flashbacks”

 Olin was the first to tell you that writing of poetry was surely some ingenuous form of torture, and the practice of poetry writing only gifted to a certain few. That said, Olin was a fine poet when the spirit moved him. At my gentle insistence (we shared everything writings-wise, genres, forms, stories, and poems through the magic of cyberspace in wee hours when insomnia struck us both) he worked and revised this poem and entered it in the 2010 CNY Chapter Penwomen annual poetry contest. He was extraordinarily funny and could write light rhyming verse as well, but this poem to my eyes was simple and beautiful. He did not win or place, but I remember his face in the audience as that year was one of my first on the judges’ side of the table. He knew I was new to the penwomen and thus, nervous, so he was also there to offer moral support.  I ‘ve lost two dear friends in one month this spring of 2013. One too young, to a debilitating illness, one, an elder just beginning to fail and to grieve for doing so, who missed his beloved spouse.  They both were midnight email correspondents with me. They both were extraordinarily accepting and tolerant. Both knew things about me that nobody else does. There is something magical about the boundlessness of the cybersphere, deep in the night, when it stretches before your fingers like  magic while the rest of the world is asleep.

I will always remember the year I met Olin. I had fallen in love, or so I thought, with a neighbor woman. It was destined for disaster, but my life was filled with upheaval when I first came to the Canastota Writers group for the first times 2004. When the brief affair flamed out as it was destined to do from the very start, I wrote a poem about it. I brought it to writers group and read it aloud, knowing full well that the poem was clearly about one woman grieving the loss of another woman’s love. I had no idea who would think what of me nor did I really care. I was in too much pain. When I finished reading,  silence stretched respectfully on. Then Olin spoke. He said, looking into my eyes with his  wonderful warm gaze, “I imagine there is not a person sitting here at this table, who has not had a heart broken. We can all relate.” With those simple words, I knew he accepted me. Immediately he took up residence in my heart.

I was proud of this work of his that I am publishing to follow.. I am happy to own copies of his memoirs. I loved how he read his piece this Tuesday past about huckleberries, assuming the voice of a querelous and whining twelve year old with as much as gusto as I assume the creaky ancient tones of a retired warrior dragon.

Thank you for working on this longer than you would’ve without my friendly bothering, Olin. Thank you for your friendship and support. Thank you for all the manuscripts and short stories and poetry you read and commented on through the years. Thank you for your honesty. I have only one regret, that we never did take the time to share that cup of coffee at Friendlys or Dunkin Donuts that we’d spoken of since 2008. With much love, I give you “Holland in April” by Olin Davis, guest poster on writer raebeth’s weblog.








Riots of color

burst over landscape;

flower field hectares

reach toward horizon.

A rainbow bouquet:

gold, crimson and plum

rows framed by canals,

Dutch farms in blossom—

tulip, daffodil

and hyacinth hues

shape a visual feast

and mental keepsake.

Olin Davis

Jan. 2011   

Bloemakkers near Haarlem,

The Netherlands 4/2001






5 Responses to “In Memory of my friend, Olin Davis, author of “Flashbacks””

  1. clover58 Says:

    This is a beautiful memoriam, Rachael. Thanks for sharing Olin’s lovely poem, too. He “painted” pictures with his words.

  2. clover58 Says:

    Reblogged this on Clover's pages.

  3. writerraebeth Says:

    makes me sad….I hope he already bought out the flower market petunias in Sherrill where he created such a scandal that year. Hardly seems fair gardening season going on without him. Or his “snow men soldiers” he created that time to hold up the flag outside his house when the pole busted..he was special, for sure

  4. Lois Says:

    That was beautiful! Thank you from Olin’s family.

    • writerraebeth Says:

      You’re very welcome, Lois. I loved Olin. And, sadly, you and I share the fact that we both have lost our fathers out of the blue. Mine died out of town after dinner in a motel. He was there to install a machine he’d built and sold. There is no good way to be left behind. Yesterday while I was watching TV, the blurb came on for ending child huner and to search the red tag on products that donate to this cause. All the products shown made me think of your dad with a sudden fierce pain in my heart. He and I had many a laugh over the “lovely ladies” who cooked for him, Marie Callender, Betty Crocker and so on. I asked him back then, “So are you one of those people whose cart is filled like a file drawer with boxes of prepared dinners?” Guilty as charged. I’ve become a fan of some of those ladies now myself. I am so glad you have his memoirs. He looked good Tuesday, rested and cheerful. He was a handsome man. You will never stop missing him. But, the surprising and shocking manner of his death was so much like one of his own stories. Often it crosses my mind if he were to be able somehow to write of it, he’d write in the ending just as it was. He was full of “the dickens!” as he would’ve quoted some elderly lady’s comment, in his writings, right up til the end. Take good care, all of you who love and miss him.

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