|image by Daniel Murtagh|
They say when asked,
your dog-collar friends
that you must suffer;
as you slowly
as you slowly
drift towards the end.
They say that He is testing you,
giving you the chance to make amends,
and I wonder if you always knew
in most exquisite pain
to bring glory, glory to His name.
I am not ready to give you up,
would do all to keep you alive
and strive with prayer
too soon too soon
please don’t take this man
who shared Your flesh,
drank Your blood from precious Cup,
but no man is from death immune
and from life’s first breath we begin to die
and Lord you will not hear my cry
lest he should not come unto Thee.
I weep as I watch you wounded, writhe
and change my plea to that of sweet release
for *nothing ‘gainst times scythe
can make defence
and entreat the Lord to grant you peace.
Tis twilight now
and I gaze as cirrus thin-wisp
the vast expanse of reddened skies,
and in awe of it,
want so to believe
that Heaven does indeed exist,
that when life doth finally cease,
in death your soul will gently rise
and you will sit with Him
in Eternal Peace.
I first began writing the above in response to dVerse's prompt of Peace and distracted by other things it fell by the wayside. Then I saw Tess’s prompt at The Mag and the woman looking out of the window reminded me of the evening I looked out of the window – the day after my dads death – and the beauty of the skies made me think of the possibility that Heaven may exist.
The poem is of course about my dad and I should give a bit of history.
I was raised in a religious household – but a home where religion was a comfort and by no means oppressive – no Hell and Damnation. Despite this warm atmosphere I cannot ever remember believing in God. I spent periods of time in hospital as a child and saw a lot of suffering there. I can remember my mum and dad saying – when comparing my relatively minor problems with those other children – “You have so much to thank God for Anna” and my response was “But what have they got to thank God for?” and they could not answer this.
My brother ran away from home when he was nine – he too conflicted between his ‘need’ to honour his parents beliefs and the lack of his own. Upon his return much talking was done and my parents said they had realised a long time ago that I did not believe too. My brother and I never attended church (with my parents) again after that. It must have hurt my parents deeply – but wonderful good souls as they were – we were never treated any differently.
When I was ten my dad gave up his job in Law and devoted his life to his God – becoming a ‘missionary’ and a lay-preacher – not the Bible-bashing kind rather a man who gently wished to spread the love of his God.
Some twenty or so years ago – across weeks – he died an agonising death and I asked his colleagues why his God was treating him so. They responded with the usual platitudes’ “God works in mysterious ways” and “He is testing him” and when I asked why He was testing him – a good kind man who had devoted his life to Him – they could not come up with a satisfactory answer.
So it is fair to say I have never believed in God – but for my mum and dads sake – I truly truly truly hope I am wrong and they exist in eternal peace with their God in Heaven.
*”nothing ‘gainst times scythe can make defence” – wonderful words borrowed from Shakespeare – Sonnet XII. (It’s okay – he says so and he and I are good friends!)