Tuesday, 28 October 2014
I watch the rise and fall of her chest,
listen intently for her breath,
part fearful, part hopeful,
waiting for the king to come and take her home,
knowing that life can be lived for far too long.
Where is she now?
With her much-loved mother?
Hearing the little girl at piano practice?
Smelling the rich warmth of the milking shed?
Seeing her brothers walking across the near paddock?
Living evenings full of girl-song, laughter and love?
Let her be anywhere but this
faded, diminished and difficult present
where vitality is gone,
where each day she seems to fade a little more.
There is a little smile,
as if sweetness cannot be washed away,
no, not even by the relentless grip
that sweeps her inexorably along.
Suddenly, seeing that smile,
I think of what she was,
how she walked through this world of selfishness and self obsession
in quiet anonymity,
a creative spirit in whom virtues dwelt,
deeply gentle, beautiful in character,
a will calm and self controlled,
a mind flexible, open and inquisitive,
her thinking free of prejudice about race or creed,
her heart tempered in love
with faith made strong through adversity-
and thinking of this quiet gentle spirit
passing almost unnoticed into the night
I say that if God exists,
if there is a great unseen world,
if there is a judgment day,
if He raises to resurrection life those who are His,
if He weighs in his balances
the heart and spirit of those
who live out brief moments in the sun,
then surely He can say of her
"this kind of person I am seeking,
this surely is one of my chosen ones",
and bending to kiss her, perhaps for the final time,
walking from that place,
past the repetitive muttering
of the vacant ghosts in their wheel chairs,
this sad, last abiding place,
my heart is strangely swelling
with a sense of privilege and gift;
yes, sad that life can come to this
but proud and elated that I have known her,
been nurtured by her,
loved her and been loved by her,
marvelling that my also anonymous life
could be so rich, so full of blessing,
so beautifully filled in its entirety
with the wonderful love of women,
and raising my eyes heavenwards
in silent, sad, complex thankfulness
I ask that I can carry her gentleness with me,
passing it on to those that I love,
yes, setting free her unknown greatness
to ripple and wash through and over
the countless generations yet to come.