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My friend and colleague Anna Craft has died.

She was famous -if that is the right word- as a researcher and leading thinker about creativity in education. But to me she was Anna.

She was kind, generous and encouraging. Her first words to me were about my work -my poetry, I mean. She seemed to think it just as important as that other, paid work, which was the context in which I got to know her. This alone made her special.

I found myself swallowing the words I had promised never to use when I heard of her diagnosis of cancer last December: ‘I am so sorry…if there is anything I can do…’

Instead I made her soup. Chicken and almond. Sweet potato and pear. Sometimes she could not come to the door, sometimes she could. And if she did, there was always conversation, a cup of tea, and endless questions, always about me and my family, whom she did not even know.

We are saying goodbye to her later today at a ceremony in a field in Devon. These are the words I would like to remember her by, in grateful thanks to have known her and to have been numbered among her friends.

 

The Good

 

The good are vulnerable
As any bird in flight,
They do not think of safety,
Are blind to possible extinction
And when most vulnerable
Are most themselves.
The good are real as the sun,
Are best perceived through clouds
Of casual corruption
That cannot kill the luminous sufficiency
That shines on city, sea and wilderness,
Fastidiously revealing
One man to another,
Who yet will not accept
Responsibilities of light.
The good incline to praise,
To have the knack of seeing that
The best is not destroyed
Although forever threatened.
The good go naked in all weathers,
And by their nakedness rebuke
The small protective sanities
That hide men from themselves.
The good are difficult to see
Though open, rare, destructible;
Always, they retain a kind of youth,
The vulnerable grace
Of any bird in flight,
Content to be itself,
Accomplished master and potential victim,
Accepting what the earth or sky intends.
I think that I know one or two
Among my friends.

 

Brendan Kennelly

Anna Craft, 1961-2014