A fine poet and wonderful man passed away a few days ago, just a few days before the private launch party for his newest book of poetry, The Alphabet of Longing and Other Poems. Today, I attended the memorial and celebration of life for Jim Tipton that took the place of festivities meant to be his book launch. In all, there were two hours of tributes and readings from Jim’s work. For my tribute, I wrote this brief poem in which I try to wed a number of the loves of his life: bee keeping, poetry and his appreciation of women.
The Bee Keeper
A keeper of words,
he was a tender man with fine vision
and a honeyed tongue adept at sharing it.
A man who loved women,
but not a ladies man,
his heart could stretch to fit everyone.
He was the one among us who knew how to see the other side.
A champion of the beleaguered,
when most found fault, he always had a kind word to say.
Words lived with him. He set them free and always grew more.
Poetry buzzed around him like bees.
He was a man who knew both bees and how to be.
Because Jim missed this party, I wanted to include these photos of him enjoying the last party I saw him at—last September’s awards luncheon for El Ojo del Lago. As you can see, he was a man who knew how to enjoy life to its fullest. Those of us who knew him through the poetry or music world, his neighbors and his family will feel the huge space left by his exit from our lives. Fly free, lovely man.
Jim’s earlier book of poetry Letters from a Stranger (with an introduction by Isabel Allende) may be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Stranger-James-Tipton/dp/0965715922
His newest book, The Alphabet of Longing, will be available on Amazon in June. It is presently available at Diane Pearl’s Colecciones and Yves Restaurant in Ajijic.