I was very sad to learn today that a gifted Australian poet, blogger and someone I consider to be a friend has passed away. Paul Squires, known throughout the blogosphere as gingatao, has died at the age of 46 after an accidental fall. Brisbane resident, kind soul, and encourager of struggling writers everywhere, I am stunned that he is gone.
Paul was a critically acclaimed, published poet who leaves behind a large body of work. A man of fierce intellect and great humour, he always took the time to comment on the work of others and encouraged me no end.
Through Paul I met two of my favourite bloggers/writers ever – Gabrielle and Jason – I cannot thank him enough for turning me on to the creative brilliance of those two people I now personally regard as friends.
I also cannot thank him enough for restoring my faith in myself as a writer.
This afternoon I was distraught. I went to the park, near the canal, looking for a sign, a photograph, something to allow me to pay tribute to such an incredible man.
I saw two beautiful sights.
The little bridge, crossing the canal, fading off into the clearing, edged with wattle and bottlebrush trees. I thought of him crossing it with the eye of a poet, turning normal everyday wooden bridge struts into something extraordinary.
Then I saw a wonder. A creature I think of as quintessentially Australian, much like Paul.
The little kookaburra, normally elusive, but perching on a gum tree today, very close by, watching.
As if he knew.
Farewell, dear Paul.
The world won’t ever be the same without you.
But whenever I see the little bridge and the lovely little Kookie I will think of you.