Marathon -- the movie

Contact Us

2017 Letter from the President

This fall, I had the good fortune to return to Bulgaria through the generous support of a classmate, Bob Storck. I had thought to take a small portion of William’s ashes to the Rila Monastery outside Blagoevgrad where we lived for two years during my Fulbright at the American University. It was to have been a private moment, but friends soon convinced me that this was a “national” event given William’s work to establish a bridge between our two countries when he was US Poet Laureate. And so the event was covered extensively by the Bulgarian media including 24 Hours and Standartnews, among others:

Account of our visit on TRUD Newspaper:

Visit to Luybomir Levchev:

Writers Union Newspaper (go to page 11):

My training as a Roman Catholic, however, proscribed such a division of a person’s cremains and I had to give some thought to what I was about to do at the monastery. Here is what I wrote in preparation for any media questions about the “theological legitimacy” of what I intended to do. The question sometimes comes up when a loved one has died and has made it clear what they wished by way of burial. Here is how I addressed the question in preparation for the ceremony at the Monastery September 21, 2016:

When I was young, I was taught that in marriage, it was the two people marrying each other who performed the sacrament of marriage and that the priest and assembled friends at the ceremony were only witnesses of the love God expressed in the vow the couple were making to each other. In death as in life, it may be true too that a communal expression of the love felt toward the one who has died, may also be blessed by God – he certainly can not be offended when the creatures he has created reach out to Him for solace and hope for eternal life in a gesture such as this, the formal recognition of dust to dust, letting the spirit of the beloved ride the winds or as Mrs. Lemington says in a poem by William Meredith, “I’d like to drift as ashes over the fields, and give them that much back.” In another poem, Edward John Trelawney says that, “The waters may keep the dead, as the earth may, and fire and air. But dream is my element.” And in dream once, Baba Vanga seemed to Answer the question if one day these mountains would be a final resting place.

As William lay dying, I worried to the Episcopal priest that my education held that one’s cremains could not be partitioned but must lie together in consecrated ground despite William’s desire that his be delivered to the river where we lived. “Ours is a powerful God” the priest told me with great sympathy, “and on the day of judgment he can surely reassemble us for the final resurrection.”

Let these ashes only be a symbol of the spirit of a man whose courage, and talent and humanity has touched so many of us and continues to make its way through the chambers of our heart in America and in his beloved second homeland, Bulgaria. We thank God for such models of humanity, and pray that Christ take him in His loving arms for all eternity.



The William Meredith Foundation, Inc.
337 Kitemaug Road
Uncasville, Ct. 06382
Tel: 860-961-5138

© 2010  The William Meredith Foundation