Tuesday, January 10, 2006

In a Coma All of Those Years, A Vision of Irving

January 7, 2006

The very first time I met Irving Layton I was a seventeen year old student at the Banff School of Fine Arts. As I sat down for breakfast at one of the big round tables in the school's cafeteria one morning, I looked up and immediately recognized Irving
Layton sitting across from me. The famous poet was wearing a black turtle neck sweater and gigantic gold medallion. We exchanged a few words, but his attention was more heavily invested in keeping up with five or six female students clustered
around him, chattering passionately.

Last night, two days after his death, Irving uncharacteristically made an appearance in my dreams. In the dream, the poet was his old robust self, wearing a white shirt, holding court in his home, surrounded by guests and four young children running around in the kitchen. It was almost like a scene from the 1960s, and I thought it was a little strange to see Irving Layton in such a domestic situation. As my wife and I walked into the kitchen, Irving warmly welcomed us. I hesitantly ventured, "But I thought you were dead." To which Irving replied in his booming familiar voice, very matter of factly: "Don't tell anybody. But I was in a coma all those years and just came out of it." He then ushered everyone toward a very long table in the middle of the dining room. Places were set for everyone, Irving presiding at one end, his wife at the other. Let the feast begin.

Geof Isherwood (Montreal, QC )

Posting from Legacy.com


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