In tribute: Melissie Rumizen

December 7, 2006

Melisse was one of the larger than life figures in Knowledge Management. Author of KM for Dummies, early practitioner and all round one of the best networked people in the movement. I remember the first time I met her over dinner in London during the period of the knowledge wars in IBM, and the support she provided during a difficult time. I remember her sharing with me the archetypal Boudreaux stories that had deligted her during her childhood in Baton Rouge. Her laughter at those stories mingled with a serious and insightful comparison between the lessons of those stories and those of Nasrudin.

We all celebrated when she appeared to have recovered from breast cancer, and appeared to have stabilised following a recurrance last October. But two days ago her fight ended. She was supported by her family, and also by a community of KM people through email and telephone to the end. Its taken me the best part of two days to be able to write about and I share the poem I sent to her family here. I want it read at my own funeral and it is to my mind one of the great poems of the last century. It calls to the humanity and potential in all of us, as did Melissie through her life and work.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

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