Tuesday, August 31, 2010

About and About: A Farewell to Brian Salchert

Updated

Brian Salchert, a friend and poet whose intelligence, humility, and grace endeared him to many in the blogosphere, passed away this morning at the James River Care Center in Springfield, Missouri. He was sixty-nine. Brian had lived in the care center since last September, after falling in his home and breaking his hip in mid-August. He did not regain the use of his legs and was confined to a wheelchair. Brian was a voracious reader and a knowledgeable participant in online poetic affairs. He will be missed.

I’m indebted to Brian’s sister, Jean, for keeping me up to date this past year. Brian did not give up. He wrote privately to some of us to send his regards; he worked hard to get better; his mind was alert until the end.


*

Brian’s poem, “About and About,” posted May 29, 2009, in his blog,
The Ghost in the Dumpster:


My whole life, Lord. My whole life.
. . .
. . .

It's amazing I've accomplished
what I have accomplished:
I, so often on edge.

Before me is a poem:
maybe seven/ versions of it.
I do not like any of them.

And yet, I want to
salvage it. . . . Why?
. . .

Such highs and lows today.
Earlier, spurred by what
I had been reading,

I drifted into wondering
if there is such a thing
as a perfect poem,

if it even matters--the words
in it, and their order--
given that the constant changes

in authors and audiences
inevitably change whatever
symbols constitute an artifact.

Oh, O Westron Wind
came to me as a candidate
for acceptable perfection,

and of course similar others
pass through shadows about and
about, their pleasures pleasing.

Still, none is perfect,
and it seems to me
near perfection resonates

with a more lasting force.
So, what's to be done? As I forgive,
forgive the sins of Brian (Baj).


*

Obituary
Courtesy of Jean Salchert

Brian A. Salchert, 69, passed away on Monday, August 30, 2010 in Springfield, Missouri.

He was born in Fond du Lac, WI on January 16, 1941 and graduated from St. Mary’s Springs Academy in 1959. He received a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from Iowa State University.

He was employed as an English Professor at Eastern Illinois University and Wisconsin State University in Oshkosh, WI. When layoff of many teachers happened, Brian became a night audit at various hotels; a job he continued until his illness that gradually took away his bodily strength, but not the spirit of his mind. Through all these years he continued to write poetry. When he could not drive he settled for communication through the internet becoming a blogger. This way he kept in touch with the world news and the world of literature.

Brian is survived by his sisters Priscilla Burnett of Springfield, Mo and Sister Jean Salchert of Mobile, AL; his brother James Salchert of Madison, WI; and a niece, and three nephews, and 12 grandnieces and grandnephews. Brian was preceded in death by his ever faithful wife of 37 years, Janice Binnebose.

Brian Salchert will be laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery in Fond du Lac; date and time to be announced.

Photo of Brian Salchert courtesy of Jean Salchert

*

Burial
Courtesy of Jean Salchert

April 17, 2011 — I have decided to have my brother, Brian’s burial on Thursday, July 14 at 1:30 p.m. at Calvary Cemetery in Fond du Lac, Wi. I am planning the prayer service trying to use some of what my brother wrote. I will also e-mail the newspaper to put in a little clip about it for the people Brian knew in FdL. I hope this timing is good for you. I know some of you will not be able to attend, but thought you would like to know what is happening.

Peace,

Sister Jean

17 comments:

Linh Dinh said...

Brian was a very beautiful man. Goodbye, Brian!

ALeks said...

Good journey Brian!
William,this is beautiful tribute to another friend of yours,take care!
Aleksandra

Akeith Walters said...

Apparently a great talent.

Jan said...

There are no answers for why we die or why we live...we just do.

Brian was only 69 years young...way to young to leave us but he has left wonderful words such as those that you've shown in this post. Brian has left a legacy, so in a way he continues on...

I'm so sorry that you have lost another friend William.

Joseph Hutchison said...

A fond adios to gentle Brian. What a pleasure it's been to read him and be read by him—to "meet" him out here in the ether, in this circle William has made safe for so many wanderers.

RC said...

Goodbye,Brian.You will be missed.

Alberto Oliver said...

But the words last forever, as well as the memories, as long as there are people that give testimony of such a valuable existance.

Woman in a Window said...

I'm not sure. Perfection resonates and there is a drive towards it as though we are flowers leaning to the sun. Something simple and elemental in us beyond our understanding. Tropism of the soul.

Brian, a beautiful soul I didn't know, but now know of. thank you, William. We should all be so lucky to be given such a testament, each of significant in our way. What we have is how we touch one another. Words sure are handy.

xo
erin

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Linh, and thanks for linking here from your post about Brian.

Aleksandra, thank you!

Gray, Brian was talented indeed, and always very quiet about it. Thank you.

Jan, thanks for your good thoughts. They are deeply appreciated.

Beautiful, Joe. What can I say?

Reyes, thank you.

Alberto, yes, and thank you.

Erin, Brian would have appreciated your comment. Thank you.

mark wallace said...

So sorry to hear about Brian's death, William. I never met him, but his blog comments, to everyone, were always thoughtful and generous. His poem here is very fine, and I hope that more of his work becomes known. Goodbye, Brian.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Mark. I know Brian thought highly of you. Let’s hope his blogs remain online. There’s a lot of material to sort through — work he himself was sorting through, always trying to lend order to it all.

William Michaelian said...

A special thanks to Brian’s sister, Jean, for supplying us with her brother’s obituary. His photo appeared with an article in 1981.

Jean also wishes to extend her thanks to everyone who has visited and commented, and to all those who knew and kept in touch with Brian.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

I admire all people who struggle against illness, I can understand the mood of Brian last year, Brian your writings and the footprints that you left not are cleared ...

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Laura. And now you’ve read one of his poems. I’m glad.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

About a year or so ago Brian Salchert, William Michaelian and I undertook a three-way book exchange. Brian wrote this to me:

“Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

Earlier today I found exactly two copies of the original 31 January sonnets from what was then my still unfinished 1976 opus. They are closer to traditional than not, but each explores its own unfolding. For that reason and because of their topics, I make no claims about their worth. My intent was to write a sonnet each day in 1976. I didn't, but eventually I did write one for each day of that year. It was my contribution to this nation's bicentennial. Copies of the smaller book of twelve sonnets, one from each month of that year, I have not yet found.

Brian Salchert"

That is to say that Brian Salchert sent the VERY LAST TWO COPIES of his book to William and me.

That’s the kind of man Brian was. He will be greatly missed.

Gary B. Fitzgerald

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Gary. And as it happens, in the photo shared by Brian’s sister that was taken all those years ago, Brian is holding a copy of January 1976, two samples of which I posted here during the time of our exchange. And a larger, color photo of his collection can be found here. Treasures.

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Jean, for the information about Brian’s burial.