Before It’s Too Late by Rad Smith


Build the perfect house, then burn it down:
every vaulted ceiling, the vitrine of
skeleton clocks, the stained
glass window. You can do better.

If while tipping the can of gasoline
or striking the match, you hesitate,
think of Euripides in his cave,
those characters in seventy-one lost plays.

How afterward, there will still be enough
to worry about, and nothing worth saving.
Think of the expense. Just the taxes.
All those shutters to paint.

Besides, eventually the roof will leak.
Somebody will break in, vandalize the place,
take everything valuable, not appreciate
any of it. Not be frightened by it.

Rad Smith

December 13, 1998

Lewis Conrad “Rad” Smith III, beloved son-in-law of Georgette Auerbach Koopman, of West Hartford, died Monday (Dec. 7, 1998) in Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was being treated for cancer. Born in Iowa City, IA, in 1947, he was the devoted husband of Rena Beatrice Koopman of Newton, MA, and formerly of West Hartford, for almost 20 years, and the loving father of Alexandra Koopman and Jordan Auerbach. He also leaves his parents, Lewis and Mary (King) Smith Jr. of Cortland, NY; and two sisters, Emily and Rebecca. Rad was brought up in St. Cloud, MN, where he attended high school. He graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude, did graduate work in English at the University of Virginia, and earned a master’s degree in business administration at Harvard University in 1977, and then joined Teradyne Inc. in Boston, MA. Rad retired from Teradyne Inc., in 1992 to devote more time to his family, to complete the work on their cottage in Maine and to further pursue his love of writing. Rad was an accomplished poet and had his work published in the Spoon River Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, and the Antigonish Review. His most recent book, Distant Early Warning, will be published this spring. While at Harvard he studied with the renowned poetess, Elizabeth Bishop. He was a collector and expert on Japanese samurai swords and other Oriental art objects. Rad was a member of the board of directors at the Japan Society in Boston and co-chair of the friends of Asiatic Art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and a trustee of the Greater Lovell Land Trust in Maine. The memorial service was December 10, at the Story Chapel at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, with the Rev. Anne Fowler officiating. Burial services were conducted by Rabbi Stephen Fuchs at Beth Israel Cemetery, Hartford. Contributions may be made to the Wellness Community, 1320 Center Street, Newton Center, MA 02459.

About Russell Boyle

Russell Boyle is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. His poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness. Russell is the author of the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 to 10 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Sample poems and questions may be downloaded from
This entry was posted in Smith Rad and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s