Remembering Stephen

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Although we never met in person and our communications were limited to on-line exchanges here at The Forum, nonetheless for me, Stephen Speicher was the embodiment of the word "benevolent". Jean Sibelius' brief but beautiful song, "Var det en dröm" (Was It a Dream), is one of my favorites both in terms of music and its text by Josef Julius Wecksell. This performance of it by the great Swedish tenor, Jussi Björling, is one of the most vocally opulent I've ever encountered. I think Stephen would have enjoyed it as well. To Stephen!

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"Was it a dream that once, in a wonderful time,

I was your heart's true love?

I remember it as a song fallen silent,

of which the strains still echo.

"I remember a rose you tossed,

a glance so shy and tender;

I remember a sparkling tear when we parted.

Was it all, all a dream?

"A dream as brief as the life of a cowslip

in a green meadow in springtime,

whose beauty soon withers away

before a crowd of new flowers.

"But many a night I hear a voice

through the flood of my bitter tears:

hide this memory deep in your heart,

it was your best dream!"

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Thank you so much, Vespasiano. Stephen has been gone five years now, but he is still with me and always will be. His thousands of posts remain on THE FORUM, too, so that anyone who seeks the enormous values he achieved in the world and in his own character can read them, enjoy them, learn from them, and remember him.

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Betsy: The Sibelius song was as much in the nature of a remembrance of Stephen as it is a thank-you to you!

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That is a fitting tribute, Vesp. I didn't get to converse directly with Stephen, as I joined the forum in 2009. But like Betsy says, his posts are still here and I have gone through many of them. From them I gather that he was benevolent, as you say, which is evidenced by his patience and willingness to answer all manner of questions. He seems to me to have assumed as much good nature and intent was there in his "audience" as in himself, which must've been a very pleasant attitude to have about people. Clearly his thinking was also sharp as a Feather blade. I'm glad his voice was granted permanence here.

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Five years ago I wrote this ode for a most magnificent man, Stephen Speicher. Like many here, I had not personally met him, but the joy of self-confident and benevolent independence shone always through his every written word. No man effected me more strongly with an optimistic outlook on life. Even when he wrote of scientific subjects which were over my head I sensed his overt intention to be just and to uphold and/or discover the truth. Always sincere was his praise for the things he loved. One can not praise too much such a heroic man.

Ode To Stephen Speicher

Strong lover of life was he (and life loves him still),

Strong in his joy of it, keen with its thrill;

Happy to measure the stars in their height,

Happy with riches of homelife's delight;

Sharp to see error, swift to praise truth,

Justice his engine, lit mind of him youth.

Evil, he damned it; greatness, he sang;

Bells optimistic swung he and rang.

Sight were not blither, speech not more gay,

When Stephen Speicher had something to say.

Saw we (and listened, our minds focused in)

His words' affirmation of "living is win!"

Taking on giants of knowledege and might,

Stephen feared no one, and bowed to no height.

Thought had a champion, mast'ry had man,

Hero knew selfishness rationally grand,---

Grand in the giving to science his best,

Grand in the taking of wife to his breast,

Grand in the saving for son a high mark---

Future to fight for out-lighting the dark!

In play with his Cali, at ease upon earth,

The man-child Stephen was Innocent's worth.

Falling like a leaf under Rhapsody's spell,

"What a Beautiful World" was his to tell.

Tell us, dear Stephen, in mem'ries of you,

Tell us the ride of the waves that are true

(Waves that we've grasped to Atlantis's beach,

Dream-pearls in sands for the hands of our reach),

True to the being, the thought, and the will,

Each man and each woman has in him still;

True to the self that is sun of the west,

Not setting, but rising, to meet the next test.

Yes, you have passed it; yes, you have won!

Straight sunrise of you shall never be done!

Your day is upon us, our skies are all blue,

As proudly we stand with the gladness of you!


Brian Faulkner

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