Friend and role model (too strange a man to be a mentor to another no less strange), H.Peter Karoff, poet, former insurance agent, founder of The Philanthropic Initiative, died on March 9. I attended services for him in Boston earlier with week, with bits of his poems projected on the walls, and in the program. I read this Benediction for him.
The Secret Sits
We dance round in a ring and suppose,
The Secret sits in the middle and knows.
Were Peter present, which he is, I would ask him if at last we do know the Secret. All these years he was asking how literature and philanthropy could be one. Maybe the Secret is that both are labors of love, confirming community. Bearing witness to the Secret, Peter was the wisest and the most foolish in any circle he formed. A gifted man, his gift was poetry, love, philanthropy, caritas, family, community. We can only requite his gifts now by passing them along, in our respective turns to be wise and foolish, giver and receiver, loving and gracious. I think that is what the Secret knows, but I am just guessing.
How many millennia before money did we humans, without even books, or iPads, have love, or a beloved community? Life is not a gift but a loan, I think. Life is the grace period before the debt comes due at interest. Peter's account is stamped "paid in full." His obit is here.