Monday, October 24, 2022

I am not resigned

A good friend of mine died in August and I was ill and couldn't go to her cremation. Yesterday we held a memorial service for her at Meeting, and I came home feeling flat. And today I've been trying to engage myself in some meaningful activity that is satisfying. I've been doing usual stuff that makes me happy but it hasn't, and I've just felt cross.

I discussed it all with Dave and said that a 50 minute Quaker meeting in which perhaps 9 people spoke very briefly about our F/friend did not feel adequate. How can you pay tribute to a multi-faceted person and their very rich life in such a short space of time?  You'd need a lengthy essay.

We carried on discussing the problem and how sad I am about Chris's death and  that I didn't get to say goodbye to her, and then Dave said; "The truth is that you just don't like it when people die, do you? That's what the problem is."

He was right. 

"That's it. I don't think death is acceptable. I don't agree with it." 

So... here is my favourite poem about death.

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.

So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:

Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned

With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.

Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.

A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,

A formula, a phrase remains, - but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,

They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled

Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.

More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave

Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;

Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.

I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.


 Edna St. Vincent Millay

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