To suggest that Glenn Peirson was indefatigable would be an enormous understatement, for he retained his trademark sense of wry humour to the end of his days. “Please understand,” he wrote a few months prior to his death, “the tall, hooded fellow with the black robe and boney fingers and long sickle isn’t hanging around me. He might be in the other room, but I would just as soon find him and throw him out of the house head first . . . ” And again, just nine weeks prior to his death, he ended a note to family and friends with this marvellous perspective on life and living: “Until we next communicate, we wish you the same revelry in life’s many unsplendoured and often-overlooked day-to-day jewels.”One of Glenn Peirson’s many friends is Howard Dyck, a noted Canadian conductor and former CBC Radio host. He wrote of his accomplished friend: “He was a rare one, was Glenn, a perfect blend of saint, clown, philosopher, pixie, artist, scholar. All of us who were privileged to know him are immeasurably richer for having walked with him.” I am Keats as you are is Glenn Peirson’s parting gift.
And yet, through all the pain, sadness and desperate hope, the clarion message of this collection is a mother’s steadfast love for her son. Indeed, her journey, and her son’s, becomes a sort of religious pilgrimage, from which evolves an epiphany: the recognition and ultimate acceptance that the human spirit is larger and more luminous than the grief which shapes it. By the end of the book, we readers feel that we have come to know, through our shared knowledge as survivors of this ubiquitous and systemic disease, this special man, Glenn, and his mother, Ellyn.