Sunday, November 01, 2009

Remembering the Departed

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Today is All Saints Day in the Christian liturgical calendar and tomorrow will be All Souls. Together they are the dates for the "Day of the Dead" celebrations in Mexico - a celebration that is now spreading all over the word. And it is a truly healthy observance, to my mind.

Whatever your religious or non-religious convictions, it is important to make friends with the reality of death because it is something that happens to all of us.

It seems appropriate, therefore, to share with you this wonderful poem - a classic:

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labour, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played
At wrestling in a ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

-- Emily Dickinson

May you remember your blessed dead today with joy and reverence.

By the way, I had the enormous privilege many years ago of attending The Belle of Amherst (a one woman play about Emily Dickinson) at the Kennedy Center starring the amazing Julie Harris. Just the memory of that performance stands my hair on end.

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