Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Monday, May 27, 2013



We went to the graveyard today to care for my husband's little sister's grave. She drowned in their pool when she was a year and a half old. We honor her every year at this time, as well as our other friends who sleep nearby.

I took my tin whistle this year and played taps on the hill overlooking the site. It was a truly powerful moment when I remembered why that song has such significance.

Their sun has set. The light of the old day has flown, and the stars come out, the moon with them. I see the moon as a promise of another day. The dead, too, have another day. They are eternal beings, everlasting, though we cannot comprehend their existence.

Do they linger to watch over us? Do they go straight to the judgment bench to await their fate? Do they have time to regret their past actions and inactions before they go? Or is it spirit prison or paradise for them immediately, to wait out the time before resurrection? Does time mean anything to them then?

Perhaps after we die, time no longer seems to run linearly and we can finally perceive its pond-like nature.

I wrote this to add to my Poetry Year offerings (Yes, I am bowing to the slippage of time and admitting that the poems are not flying off my pen due to frantic activity of another nature):

The mark of a man, of a truly great man
Is the work that he leaves behind.
When the chips are down
And the journey ends
He takes with him his acts and his mind.

Gone are the gold and the pow'r and the 'things'
And all of the trappings of life.
What then remains
Are important things
Like Actions and Children and Wife.

Lay not away what matters most
To grab for treasure and power
Leaving behind
The love you once had
For what makes you glad in the hour.

For riches are fleeting and power is gone
In the twinkling of an eye
But what will last
To eternity
Is the love God showers down from on high.

Gather ye now while you still have time
The gems which bear actual price
What you hold in your hand
Will be lost on the way
And your treasure is gone in a trice.

Hold to your family, loved ones, and friends
For they are the jewels; not the other
Their love is reward
Beyond grave, beyond death
Your father, son, sister, and mother.

Lay ye now down at the end of your days
With your loved ones hovering 'round.
And know with faith
They'll be there at last
When their bodies join yours in the ground.

The image at the top of the page is of a circle of rocks with another in the middle, which is the hiker's way of telling others that he or she has gone home. I think when I go, that is something I want marking my grave.

We'll see you later, M.

H. Linn Murphy

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