The Lament Of Loss
The two chairs still sit together on their verandah:
his and hers;
the grandparents I never met.
Following a decade of health problems, all had assumed that he would be the first to go.
But it was my grandmother who quietly surrendered:
the unexpected loss of a son, too much to bear.
Life’s meaning was lost.
My grandfather turned his face to the wall.
In a matter of days he followed her.
“Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me,
On thy bosom let me rest,
More I would, but Death invades me;
Death is now a welcome guest.
When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.”
From Dido and Aeneas
Music: Henry Purcell
Libretto: Nahum Tate
Picture of the verandah in our family’s home, which my grandfather built, and where my father lived as a child and young man.
February 20, 2012 at 9:05 am
A veritable classic!
This is also a superb performance, Ed, but I wasn’t allowed to embed it.
February 20, 2012 at 9:26 am
Beautiful words, and sad.
February 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm
Grief and loss comes in so many forms, but to lose a child must be every parent’s worst fear. Once they are adult, I think it might be even worse…
February 20, 2012 at 6:05 pm
Nothing quite says it like those two empty chairs.
February 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm
Perhaps we can convey emptiness or absence much more easily in pictures than in words..
February 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm
What an enormous loss for the remaining family members.
February 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm
“When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions….”
February 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm
So very sad.
February 20, 2012 at 10:43 pm
I think it’s impossible for families escape times of loss and tragedy, and many suffer very much worse..
February 21, 2012 at 7:20 am
i came over from Glynn’s — what a lovely tribute — and I love the chairs…
I never knew my father’s parents — his mother died when he was fourteen, his dad when he was in college — my mother’s parents were both dead by the time I was ten….I know I missed out on something —
Nice poem — love what you put together here….
February 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm
Thank you, Harriet.
Like you, I met neither sets of my grandparents – but I cannot claim to be really aware of their absence either..
February 25, 2012 at 7:10 pm