Uncommonly Blue Eyes: John Powell

John David Powell, May 14, 1960- February 12, 2002

Dan.Tracy.wedding.19960914Before discussing the poem Uncommonly Blue Eyes, let me tell you about this picture. It’s from the wedding day of Dan, now my brother-in-law, and Tracy, in September 1996. I’m on the far right and Carol is second left. We had been going out for about a year and a half, but by the time of the wedding, we were not.

Carol’s older brother John, right next to Dan, was my biggest cheerleader for his sister and me getting back together. He was one of the groomsmen in our wedding in May of 1999.

I once made a list of Bruce Springsteen CDs I would like, so John could pick among theme, and he gave me all six or seven of them. I’d never owned The River or the twin 1992 albums, Lucky Town and Human Touch before. He was very generous.

His wedding to Cindy was postponed by a day due to a massive snowstorm. They were married 1/1/2001, and it became a very small wedding. My, they had far too little time together, having only met a couple of years earlier.

John David Powell would have been 60 today.

It was so unusual. Soon after my brother-in-law John Powell died in New Jersey in February 2002, my wife started busily scribbling… something. It turned out to be this poem.

Uncommonly Blue Eyes

In honor and memory of John David Powell – February 14, 2002

Uncommonly blue eyes
Arresting us with their clarity

Sky blue eyes
Piercing through clouds of darkness,
Demanding honesty,
Delivering truth.

Steely blue eyes
Shielding the sensitive idealist
Who saw the world in deeds and individuals
As the ought to be.

Bright blue eyes
At age four looking like a precocious professor in his bowtie;
Years later, respected like a professor
For his knowledge of all things technical.

Royal blue eyes
Earnestly seeking the heavenly kingdom of God,
Ready to serve as a child of God.

Light blue eyes
Twinkling in anticipation of his own light-hearted puns and punchlines,
Sparkling while watching for opportunities
To surprise us with spirited generosity.

Sapphire blue eyes
Searching for his beloved and discovering her;
With every tender gaze
Adoring his bride’s long, curly locks and radiant being.

Baby blue eyes
Reflecting the innocent perfection of his infant nieces,
Each one truly treasured by him.

Deep blue eyes
Viewing the sea change in his last year of earthly life,
Staring down profound pain with steadfast faith and stubborn resolve,
Embracing profound love with boundless joy.

Uncommonly blue eyes.
Soulfully blue eyes.
Joyfully blue eyes.
Uniquely John.

Pictures from May 15, 1999- John Powell (d. 2002), my college friend Mark, me, and Norm (d. 2016).

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