RIP Bill Hetznecker

Doctor William H. Hetznecker III passed away on the 1st of April. Bill an accomplished professional in the medical field was also an accomplished poet.

The poet Diane Sahms-Guarnieri said of Bill, “He was a gentle man who always lent an ear to emerging poets encouraging them in the craft and offering inspiration. He always spoke fondly of his wife Noreen. I remember him kindly from our friendship at The Philadelphia Forum.”

The Poet Peter Krok said, “Bill was a talented poet and a very perceptive friend.  I regret his passing and his warm affection.  I know he missed Noreen and he wanted to be close to her again.”

The Poet David Kozinski said, “I find it quite appropriate that Bill died on April Fool’s Day, before anyone had a chance to pull a foolie on him. It’s as if he left us with a wink and that sweet, wry smile.”

The poem Crow Business by Bill Hetznecker courtesy of Peter Krok


        Crows define their arc of sky

        with harsh sentinel squawks.

        They strut from the roadside,

        snatch a shred of asphalt squirrel.

        They convene above the gravestones,

        clot, flit from roost to air,

        caw and clack among the pin oaks.

        Crows condense black in the eye,

        inflict racket in the ear,

        appear in guises

        composed by the mind.

A poem by David Kozinski in honor of Bill:

As Winter Cedes To Spring

(in memory: Dr. Bill Hetznecker)

Despite the inside-out cooling of Alprazolam,

even while fumbling for a hank of gratitude

as foreign to my habit as a priest’s vestments,

I feel the heat come down into my head,

sweat swelling in my pores

as if I’d stopped running on a July afternoon.


My friend’s body’s betrayal of him I take personally

as a ransacking, a robbery.


Fifteen years from early middle

to late middle age have flowed

through my fingers faster for this friendship,

recent by the measure

of a life flush with friends

I’ve known for four-fifths of it, and longer.


These aren’t bells soft or celebratory,

a fool’s jingles, calla bells or baritone horns,

aren’t beckoning chimes or mourning bells.


They clang for the fire brigade and pull

my fists into knots around the handles

of buckets I run back and forth

between conflagration and stream,

water sloshing over the rims, spilling

half their fullness onto steaming ground


not even sure why I’m running

or what spitting at death means.


*                       *                       *                       *                                 

When only rising smoke is left and cinders

blot the landscape we reset the stones,

replant the garden and quiet falls

where there is peace enough

to recognize in what’s left behind

what is dearest.


If my words are leaner and level and plumb

for knowing you, they sound

as chords for our song,

stand as the frame of what you give me

and what I hope to pass along.



4/1 (2:30 AM), 4/2; 4/3, 4/5/11

Obituary information:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: 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