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.