An Elegy For Brian
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest.
He had no morning prayer or evensong.
He had no God, but I can only hope he's wrong.
I hope that they are laughing boisterously,
the newly gathered soul and Deity.
For he would laugh at this transcendent jest,
to know that men with good, clear consciences are
And courteously he'd hold open the gate
for two fine ladies so they would not wait,
and greet them with his open friendly smile,
now free at last from knife and poison, pain and trial.
My compass, touchstone, tenor of my day,
how can it be that he has gone away?
It is my hope to meet him once again,
but it will surely take all that I have 'til then.
Yet, even if there may be nothing more,
and death be but the closing of the door,
no Great Embrace, nor punishment of Hell,
remember life much lived, and lived with honor well.
ED: To be clear on attribution, the first two lines are
directly lifted from W.H. Auden's Funeral Blues. The rest
of the poem is my own.
--written 1/29/10 by Ana Keveney
* the first 2 lines are from W.H. Auden's Funeral Blues
This page is dedicated to Brian Keveney, friend and SCA
& SFSNNJ member. His memory will live on in our
hearts. RIP Brian. Read his obituary here.
It is with deep regret that I must inform you that
our beloved Brian Keveney has lost his battle
with his recent illnesses. He left us late this
afternoon (Sunday, 1/24/10).
|Remembrances and Condolences
Brain was a true gentleman. My
sympathies to Ana and his family.
I enjoyed laughing and talking with him
very much. He will be missed and my
sympathy goes out to all those knew this
very special man.
Jim and I echo the thoughts of
everyone who has posted so far on
Our hearts go out to Ana & the
Steve & Jim Spinosa
My heart goes out to Ana and the rest of
their family in this difficult time. Brian was
one of a kind and will be missed. I have
a lot more to say, but, frankly, I am just
too stunned to set down my thoughts at
My brother Bill was up from Virginia one weekend. Brian and Ana had
attended a showing of a classic film at the Lafayette in Suffern. We
had lunch at the pizzeria down the street. Both my brother and Brian
were in their 60s and remembered some of the classic comics of the
day. We met again at The Joker's Child in Fair Lawn and they
collection. My brother found him to be a real nice guy and very well
versed in the art of comic books. Brian will be remembered with great
Reaction from Ana:
I was amazed at, awed by, and so very grateful for
the outpouring of love for Brian on Saturday. It was
this wonderful thing that had me in my first decent
night's sleep in a week by the time it was over.
Thank you for being there, whether in person or in
I love you all.
What can I say thst has not been said before?
To answer this question, I have to get in the way back machine and travel back to my first meeting with Brian. I was
running the Author Discussion Group, and he sat hesitantly down next to Aurelia Long, and we began our discussion of
Sarah Zettel's 'Kingdom of Cages'. He laughed heartily as Aurelia started teasing me about my lack of handouts, and
the next thing I knew we were chatting like old friends. He told me later that the main reason he kept coming back to the
Author Discussion, and later Tripping the Write Fantastic, was that I encouraged people to speak out, go off topic, have
fun, and relax (something that the previous moderator had not really done). Brian encouraged me to be a better
moderator by goading me to pick more esoteric authors and topics (I think that one of his favorite meetings was our
discussion of Xenophon).
Outside of the group, Brian was always quick with a joke, and was always willing to laugh with and at others. I recall
walking down the corridor in the Garden State Plaza after a nice dinner at Ruby Tuesday and discussing my High
School Football career (strong side tackle, offensive and defensive), at which Brian japed, "That's not allowed, Todd,
you're gay, you can't like football!" We all laughed merrily and discussed Manly Super Bowl Parties, featuring Nachos,
Beer, and Flatulence. He continued to tease me about the Super Bowl Wine & Cheese party for many years, in spite of
being invited to me super-manly Super Bowl. Heck, I'm still laughing about that now!
On another occasion, I invited Brian and Ana over for the series premier of True Blood, and what a fun time that was.
We enjoyed a great meal with some excellent friends, and then watched the show. I recall some racy scenes with a large
wooden beam and some chains, which Brian decided he was going to set up in the Living Room of their house in
Hawthorne. The laughter and joy continued through the night as we drank deep of the Sangre de Toro and reveled.
I recall a great evening of Brian complaining to the heavens that I was the worst moderator ever because I kept
introducing him to new books and authors that were absolutely fantastic. Simon Green, Jim Butcher, and Robert Jordan
were just a few of the authors we both enjoyed, and I count myself lucky that I could introduce such a well read man to
new books that he could truly enjoy!
Another greatly memorable night was New Year's Eve 2008, when we braved the snow and played Apples to Apples
until midnight! Brian was awaiting my chili with great anticipation, ready for a memorable meal, and a lot of leftovers.
Perhaps all of my memories of Brian seem funny or irreverent, but that is exactly how I remember him. Brian always
knew how to have a good time, and I think that I can see his picture right there in the dictionary under bon-vivant. What
was great about Brian was that he always made you want to do your best, just so you could match his energy and
enjoyment. It was a bar that was rightly set high, and I hope that I can live my life a tenth as wonderfully as he lived his.
Can any of us measure up to Brian Keveney? I doubt it, but I am sure as heck inspired to try. I doubt that he'd have it
any other way.
A fond memory of them is the time he and Ana were dressed up for
the King Arthur lecture given by Susan Longo.
Jim and I respected his honesty, integrity and knowledge. The other
fond memory was the online discussion over higher
scientific/mathematical knowledge along with his sense of humor. We
will both miss this man very much.
Steve & Jim Spinosa
I have a funny memory of Brian. We all know how Brian and Ana were active in the Society for Creative Anachronism
(SCA). Brian and I had a bet going. If I lost I had to clean his armor for life...of course, I lost. Brian and I laughed about
it and joked.
I thought he was joking. Well, imagine my surprise when a month later Brian walks up to me at a meeting, gives a deep
courtly bow in his best Sir Wilhelm manner, and states, "Your task at hand awaits you m'lady. The armor is in the
trunketh of my coach," then hands me a rag and polish!! I cracked up. After that his armor became a running gag -
he'd say things like, "wench, there's a spot on my armor!" "I think I see some rust" and all sorts of fun armor jokes.
Brian had a wonderful, keen sense of humor. He was straight-forward, always willing to lend a helping hand and put
others before himself. He never complained. Even when things were horrible, he never looked for pity or sympathy and
felt there was always someone worse off and you should be thankful for what you have. He never once complained or
whined about any of the maladies that struck him. He remained upbeat and was still looking out for others.
That is a good man. That is man deserving of respect and honored memories.
For Valentine's Day (Third Anniversary--2009)
Through thick and thin these two in love remain,
though trials aplenty lay across their road.
In sooth, 'tis ease that is true lovers' bane,
for troubles serve for sharing heavy loads.
For trials shared are trials halved, they see,
and joys likewise are doubled 'tween the two.
Thus is their love defeating entropy,
defying odds to stay a course so true.
Though famine work its way across the land,
and illness lay them low from time to time,
the two yet still would hold each others hand.
The poet sees his smile and sets to rhyme.
These last three years she would for nothing trade.
Such love and honor ne'er can be outweighed.
Valentine's Day 2009
|A noble oak is stricken with a blight;
a strange disease attacks it from within.
Its leaves are gone, and cracked its tough bark skin;
before each storm it strains to stay aright.
Its branches groan and crack throughout the night,
its struggles heard above the howling din.
As Job kept faith and did not stoop to sin,
it carries on and will not cease to fight.
Its tenders do their best to make it whole,
to find the source and drive this illness out.
Unflagging are their labors for this tree.
They poke, they prod, they scold, and they cajole
the weathered warrior through each draining bout
to win a war whose end they can't foresee.
How brilliant are the leaves upon a tree
that witness bears to doughty summer's end.
How straight and tall it stands, not yet to bend
before the wrath of winter's tyranny.
So I shall gladly learn such botany
to keep it hale and whole, and ever tend
this boon companion, love, and trusted friend,
for in its shelter there is harmony.
Though I knew not its younger, greener day,
nor watched as nuts to shoots to saplings grew
beneath its shade, this causes no dismay.
I would have been too green myself, too new
to see its worth, too raw to know my way,
and only now can see its splendor true.