They found him, as predicted, in the cove
three days it took for the Atlantic
to spout him up and leave him back
as he was in life, washed out and finished.

What drove him on, knowing there's no purpose
no belief in heaven or amelioration?
The desire for continuance, pass on the genes?
All unimportant now as we gather graveside.

Remember our youth, the grand desires,
assured of immortality we sketched, wrote out
our demons acknowledging that we were leaving
the old behind, whether by comment or design.

Was that it, the failure to find an audience?
Thirty years on from those raucous days
convinced that you were making it new
rewriting the old rules breaking the bounds.

Dear friend could I have helped? But like you
I had no money and that was the root of it;
almost reclusive in those unheated rooms
the good furniture gone to pay the rent.

As the mean service ends I spot your ex-wife
clutching a rose, your brother agitated
perhaps knowing he could have done more;
but not for a wastrel who made strange daubs.

I turn away recalling your first small triumph
the de-hanging party, the good reviews,
that's how I'll remember you; enthusiastic
slightly drunk and so convinced you were on your way.

Back home I stare again at your large abstract
I bought then; notice its relevance to the sea
and those dark shapes, could be the tiny cove
where once we swam and where your body rested.