I am remembering her colors, the ochres and golden browns and dark umbers -- earth colors. I am remembering her sense of order and her love of the sea, her love of the dunes of Cape Cod and the slow waves. I am remembering her attention to food and one particular slow gorgeous day on the cape with Roz and Howard and [artist] Elly Rubin and others, the feast that Roz prepared, and that she was reading Middlemarch and all the talk of Picasso and everything else under the sun. I am remembering her deep and abiding love for Howard. I am remembering the framed reproduction of a Van Gogh self-portrait I saw in her bathroom the first time I entered her and Howard's apartment in 1969 or 1970, how impressed I was with that, with her attention to images, to the feel of spaces. I am remembering her paintings and I look at them often, especially her own self-portrait and the portrait of Howard. I am remembering her graceful begonia turning its leaves toward the light. I am remembering all her kindness to me, her kind and loving attention to my poetry and other writings. I am remembering her yoga practice or at least that I knew she had one, and how it caused me to turn toward yoga in a small way. I'm sitting here in Seattle in the early morning thinking of Roz. I woke before the birds and I'm listening to the night. The distant hum of trucks on I-5, so far away they make a single soft sound rather like the hum of the universe. Closer in there's silence. Now the birds are waking and starting their singing. It is 4:30 a.m. I am thinking how Roz would have loved this moment too, the moment in the dawn when the light is just sufficient to wake the birds to their singing. I'm thinking of Roz and her exemplary life so full of love and creativity and her strong sense of justice, her sense of what is right. I am thinking of the steady, considered, intelligent, kind attention she gave to me and to so many others. She is somehow part of this day and always will be.
Elegy for Roz (Zinn) by Priscilla Long
"Elegy for Roz" appeared in Raven Chronicles, Vol. 14, No. 1 (fall 2008).