Thursday, 25 June 2009


One of the friends at the poetry group died last week after a very short illness. She kept details to herself, but once she was diagnosed with terminal cancer she set her affairs in order
meticulously, making lists and leaving precise instructions.

She refused to have the doctors "mess her about", and refused all treatments which allowed her to live an active life almost to the very end. I saw her at a poetry reading less than a month ago and she was no less cheerful and positive than she'd ever been.

She stipulated that there was to be no fancy funeral, she was to be buried in a cardboard coffin, a truly ecological burial as befits a lifelong environmentalist.

She was a very ordinary woman, or so I thought, but her determination, courage and strength of character make her into an example for us all.

She loved poetry and I think she would have approved of my choice of poem to speed her on her way.

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;

Four 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
1809 - 1892


  1. I am sad for you at the loss of your friend but she was clearly an amazing woman. I loved the poem and may send it to Bella Sinclair, whose husband has died recently.

  2. Majestic Tribute.
    Exemplary courage, determination and strength of character are anything but ordinary.

  3. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Poets are truly able to express their inner selves better than some. I am sure all of your group will prize her poems. The one you selected is perfect as far as I can determine from your description of her. Blessings

  4. I'm sorry about the loss of your friend, Friko. This poem is absolutely perfect and would indeed be a special farewell her. "Sunset and evening star, and one clear call for me!"

  5. I can only hope that when my time comes that I will have as much dignity and make it so easy on others to say goodbye.

  6. I always loved that poem. A fine tribute to the lady you describe. She must have been very brave.

    I just found your blog at TIME GOES BY. I think it is beautiful.

  7. Sorry it's taken me so long to answer everybody's comments.
    As you can see from today's post I've been just a bit busy.

    BT - It's a beautiful poem. Please send it on.

    English Rider - Yes, she was great; I'm sorry I only found out how great after she died. Isn't that always the case.

    QMM - thanks for your good wishes and understanding

    Margaret - Thank you, the poet does express it beautifully.

    Tabor - Hear, hear, me too. If only..

    20th C Woman - Thank you for your comment and your remark about my blog. Do come back, please.


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