The grass is always greener - a tribute to Robin Williams 21st July 1951 - 11th August 2014




The grass is always greener when we look beyond the fence;
Luscious, tall and broadly stemmed, enveloping and dense.
And so we look and wish and pray and mow and rake and seed.
We seek the things we do not have; the things we think we need.

And what is it that makes the grass so green, the other side?
I ask myself this question and the answer seems to hide.
It’s nothing I can see or do.  It’s nothing I can say.
It’s nothing I can buy though I was willing, once, to pay.

Always I aspired to be famous, to be known
In the hope that my success would mean I’d never be alone.
But several years ago I began to understand
That if I continued following the footprints in the sand

Made by those who’d walked before me, I would never find my spark
That I’d never live my dreams, that I’d never leave my mark.
So I left the trodden trail and I walked amongst the rocks.
They often hurt my feet as I had no shoes or socks.

But over time my feet grew strong.  The rocks became my friends,
And eventually I came to where the rocky landscape ends.
I found myself, once more, on a powdered sandy beach,
And all the things I’d wanted that had, once, seemed out of reach,

Were there about me, all around me, with me on the sand
And I saw that, when I trust myself, it’s I who holds my hand.
And now I do not ask of others what I ask myself.
I do not wait for wishes to be granted by an Elf.

I know that I’m the hero that I used to dream I’d meet
At a bus stop or a coffee shop or, simply, on the street.
I’m listening intently to the wisdom in my heart:
It speaks forgotten languages of angels and of art.

When I Sleep, what dreams may come?  What kingdoms will arise?
Will Truth present itself?  Drop the scales from my eyes?
Will my poems be recited: Summer’s joy, beneath a tree?
Shared amongst the members of that old society?

We can look across the fence; see the talent; see the fame.
We can phone up our insurance brokers; try to make a claim.
We can close our ears to Mr. Hicks’s “Life is just a ride.”
Or maybe we can ask ourselves why all these Gods have died?

Robin, you brought so much joy to others with your work.
The selfish part of me is screaming, “Tell him he’s a jerk!”
You had it all, or so it seemed: money; family; friends;
A career that so many dream of – one that never ends.

But maybe this is why it hurt to be the awesome you.
Globally we bought your act and thought that it was true.
We let you crack your jokes when you needed, more, to cry.
And everybody let you as the years drifted by.

It was convenient and wonderful to have you entertain us.
Actually, essential – as we know, the world can drain us.
Wars and the collapse of value; government: a sham.
But, like an angel, there you are:  “Good Morning Vietnam!”

You spent your soul on others like the cast of Schindler’s List.
You told them jokes on speaker phone – you helped them to exist
In a world of pain and torment, like a light house in the dark,
And you made it look so simple, like a stroll across the park.

So, perhaps the people, we that loved you, need to take a breath
And consider that we might have been complicit in your death.
It’s fair to say that we have been complicit in your life.
My heart goes out in thanks to your children and your wife.

Your death is bitter sweet to me and, though the grass is green,
I could always see the sadness in your eyes in every scene.
I think we all could see it, though it’s something we ignored
Because you gave the light of laughter.  And for this you are adored.

So, Robin: This, I promise you: I’ll NEVER gaze across
To the other side, where grass is ‘greener’, feeling at a loss.
You’ve shown me that there’s no such thing, that grass is simply grass.
And if I do not live this way… please come and kick my arse!

Dedicated to Robin Williams for a life of service to humanity.

Wednesday 13th August 2014 ©Simon Welsh Poetry