Time and Eternity
The first Sunday of every September the Vicar holds a short service in the Cemetery Chapel here at Highclere Castle. It’s a half hour to reflect on those members of your family who have died and those buried in the beautiful park, shaded by trees in the graveyard next door to pastures with sheep grazing. My husband read a short passage from the Gospel and we all sang loudly accompanied by a slightly dicey piano played by a very kind man James Woodhouse. The small gothic chapel was built by Henrietta the 3rd Countess of Carnarvon to ‘comfort those in sorrow’, it’s always a very charming service and much liked by my son due to its brevity.
While I sat there this year remembering my own parents I composed a poem, something I have never done before and came back to write it down with a glass of rose wine and now share it with you all.
The fragile skin parched over familiar hands
Faint eyes and ears moving to their new land
What voices, sounds and music can he hear?
In our Father’s house there are many rooms,
We read and bear our strength from fear
New long and endless passages lead through earth to tombs
We all take turns to read God eternal, Credo in unum Deum,
Pray for him, help us we are so young, we are not ready.
Fingers now released it is the end
Forlorn bereft in a strange world left for us now to fend
A complex man and simply a man
Our father now left our life for heaven
Time and eternity instantly kiss
And his shadow flees from us in a darkling mist.
Your poem is beautiful. I lost my Dad nearly six years ago now and so many of the feelings you describe are similar to those I have had. It really did bring tears to my eyes.
On a happier note, I do enjoy your blog. It’s lovely to get a small glimpse into the world of Highclere. Thank you for sharing it!
Very thoughtful. Poignant .
How good that you should share your experiences with us. It is most interesting for nosey people like me. I think the small things in daily life that others experience is most interesting. Like I have a banana and home made wholemeal bread for my breakfast, my wife has brown soda bread with butter.Never coffee but black assam tea without milk or sugar that we buy from Wilkinsons tea merchants in Norwich. http://www.wilkinsonsofnorwich.com/
Thank you so much for sharing the poem with us. I lost my Mom last October with Alzheimer’s disease. She no longer knew me and I think that hurt the most. I wrote a poem about its effects on her and our family and read it at her funeral service. It was a healing experience as I imagine your “Father’s Parting” was for you. I do hope Heaven is full of our ancestors all getting acquainted. We are all lucky to live in the here and now in preparation for our future parting journey.
“Forlorn bereft in a strange world left for us now to fend.”
This, for those who remain in life, is perhaps the truest form of grief. Even if we never had before, we find ourselves wondering and questioning the importance of our own existence.
Life ends but grief does not.