Fare Forward, Voyager

The Cole Brothers: Dermot, Pat and Terrence

I learned this afternoon that Terrence Cole passed away earlier today. He was a friend and mentor for me and for many. Lively and curious as a researcher, professor and fundamentally as a human being, Terrence was also the wonderfully chaotic presence on KUAC’s Any Old Time shows when he and his twin Dermot along with family and friends would spin tunes, jokes and yarns in equal measure. That vivacity of spirit wasn’t dimmed when he learned he had inoperable cancer. When I heard he had entered hospice, I put together this tribute from an interview I had with him and Dermot two years ago.

Finally, in his unflinching acceptance of both life and his terminal condition he brought to mind these lines from T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Dry Salvages.”

At the moment which is not of action or inaction
You can receive this: “on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death”—that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action.
Fare forward.
                      O voyagers, O seamen,
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea,
Or whatever event, this is your real destination.’
So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna
On the field of battle.
                                  Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.

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