Bill and the Stars

In Memory of William Brian Neff

According to the legend of Coyote and the Stars, Coyote was watching the stars dance in the sky. Seeing that they were having a wonderful time, he leaped into the sky and began dancing with them. When he discovered that he wasn't permitted to return to earth, he took the first opportunity to run away and crashed into the earth.

Coyote saw the stars
Dancing in the sky.
He leaped into the heavens
To dance with them.

The stars enjoyed
Dancing in the sky,
But Coyote grew weary
And fell back to earth.

Bill danced on the beach,
In the mountains,
And in our hearts.
He brought us joy.

The stars watched
And invited him
To dance with them

He felt the pain
Killing his body,
Making his feet
Stop dancing.

He answered the stars -
Now he dances in the heavens
And in our hearts,
Bringing us joy.

Bill Neff was a good friend and dance partner.  My fond memories of him (recorded for posterity on super-8 film) include dancing on the beach and dancing in the mountains - neither of us could really dance, but we leaped about, simply enjoying the effort.  When AIDS ravaged his body and took his life, I like to think that his soul was set free to dance to celestial music.  It was fitting that the theme for his memorial service was "...may our tears be turned into dancing!"

BJ Swartz
Copyright © 10/3/94, revised 11/6/97

Return to Swartz/Roller Poetry.
Posted 27 September 1999