Thursday, January 17, 2008

Crossing the Bar

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1889

A month and a half ago, I learned that a good friend had suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital. He had been seriously ill for several months, and his body was so damaged by disease that the doctors could do nothing for him but make him comfortable, and wait. I went to visit him in the hospital, and though he was weak, and couldn't talk much, and looked impossibly vulnerable, he smiled and made a joke or two. I left, full of sorrow, knowing that I had seen him for the last time.

The next day, we got a fall of heavy, wet snow and I went out in the morning to clear my driveway and walks. As I shovelled, I thought of my friend, and death, and those he was leaving behind, and I was filled with disbelief and anger and sorrow. The shovel scraped along the concrete and the snow packed itself upon it, and with each heavy shovelful, I also cleared the disbelief and even the anger, but the sorrow remained. And with each shovelful, I remembered a line or a phrase from this poem. I didn't think I had it memorized, but with each clump of snow I threw to the side, I came closer and closer to the complete poem. And as the poem took shape, my sharp grief reformed into tenderness and remembrance. When I was done, and all the snow cleared for the day, I went inside and read the poem, and was comforted.

4 comments:

morpho aurora said...

that made me tear up, which is an extremely difficult thing to do. not bad tears, good ones. the kind that wash your soul clean. thanks.

Crash said...

I noticed you were underlined too.
Don't know what else to say, but I like how you write your thoughts out, and I'm sorry for you.

lizardrinking said...

you're such a writer, girl! great imagery right back at you. sad that this occurence inspired it, but, as m-a says, very cleansing, strong and clear in my mind.
rose.

morpho aurora said...

this poem kept ringing a bell for me, it seemed so familiar. i think i may have read it before, at least part of it, in one of the later Anne of Green Gables books. i think i'm gonna go dig those out and re-read them. thanks for that.