Dr. Johan Swartz, aged 65, died at the Highway Hospice, on Saturday, June 30 2012.
I consider myself honoured to have known him as a mentor and friend. He was a man of great integrity and a renowned educator and researcher in the field of Cognitive Science – the study of human intelligence and the enhancement of learning. I can think of no better way to pay tribute to his memory than to publish a poem that he penned in his last days. (Grateful thanks for the permission to do so is due to his son Deon)
In gratitude to Jesus Christ Johan Swartz I wonder when I finally knew (When mist had cleared, and sun shone through) The fallacy of youthful dreams Belief in things that prove untrue: Pursuit of wealth, of trivial pleasure-- Of artifice and worthless treasure. I wonder was it my decision To consciously transform my vision To surgically expose my heart To God’s most merciful incision-- So cocooned worms could crystallize Into a blaze of butterflies. I wonder was it THOUGHT alone That made me question the unknown- Or insight, brought about by chance The confluence of circumstance? How was it that I found the way From stumbling night to brilliant day? I had no great Epiphany That opened up my eyes to see. I plodded on in unconcern And felt no need for piety. Though justified to close the door Instead God chose to love me more. I know NOW it was not MY doing That kept God patiently pursuing By gradual and mysterious ways To change my curses into praise: His Spirit, gently guiding me: From conflict to tranquillity. I wonder now—safe in His clasp- WHEN, by His grace, He made me GRASP That tale of brutal savagery Of sacrifice on Calvary- That MY OWN suffering He’d employ To change despair into such JOY.