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Words about death

(13 Posts)
Imperfect27 Tue 11-Jul-17 09:02:22

I remembered this piece of writing today and looked it up to refresh my memory. I have my own thoughts about it - I took positives from it as I hope others might. Some deaths are tragic, too early, traumatic and cruel ... some deaths are a natural process, the end of ageing, although that does not lessen the pain of missing and mourning loved ones. Today, this touched me as I was thinking about the loss of my daughter in contrast to the losses of my mum and my dad - more smiles than tears.

On Death
- by Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance

mjagger Thu 10-Aug-17 20:29:11

Thanks for sharing this. It is useful to read encouraging or even just understanding words when you are grieving.

phoenix Thu 10-Aug-17 20:44:05

I often think of the words of Kahlil Gibran about children, something about sending arrows, but might have got that wrong.

However his writing on death, I do have a bit of a problem with.
I would happily acknowledge the words to my own passing, but I am not so easy to attach them to my DS2, who died by his own hand (as the poetic term puts it)

nigglynellie Thu 17-Aug-17 17:11:01

Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

I discovered this written on the back of a photograph sent by my mother to my late father during the war. I hope it bought her some comfort. He was killed at the end of 1942 and the photo presumably was returned with his effects.

Auntieflo Thu 17-Aug-17 17:27:56

Niggly, that is lovely. I have copied it into my book of quotes that are so comforting to read now and again.

nigglynellie Thu 17-Aug-17 18:08:18

Oh good Af, I'm so glad you liked it. I too find it comforting when I think about them, as we all do about our loved ones from time to time.

norose4 Thu 17-Aug-17 18:28:53

So very very sorry to read what you have gone through Phoenix. I love Kahlil Gibran's words on children, that we are the bows & they are the arrows , & the line that says 'we can give them our love but not our thoughts ' The one written about joy & sorrow is also very poignant. They and several other subjects are all in his book called 'The Prophet'

phoenix Fri 18-Aug-17 17:57:15

Thank you norose4 I occasionally dip into The Prophet.

We had this poem at my beloved stepfathers funeral, he was a pilot.

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air… .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Although he flew executive jets, for his own personal pleasure he had a Fornier RF5(sp?) , a motorised glider.

He was a bad influence in some ways, as if I "fancied" a day off school, he and I would go flying, a tiny little plane, 2 seater, one behind the other, perspex "lid" that you pulled over and fastened with the sort of bolt that you see on a toilet door! We used to refer to it as the Airfix Kit, as when it was first delivered, you could still smell the glue!

We would fly over the Buckinghamshire countryside, with the stereo (old fashioned 8 track cartridge thing) playing, occasional aerobatics, ( mildly alarming if performed without prior warning, especially one called the barrel roll!) and even on some mad days "pop over" to Le Touquet for lunch!

midgey Fri 18-Aug-17 19:44:17

That poem took me straight back to school, it conjures up such a picture.

phoenix Fri 18-Aug-17 20:13:00

It does, doesn't it midgey especially if you have flown in light aircraft, although it was written by a fighter pilot.

midgey Fri 18-Aug-17 22:05:45

I was told it was found amongst the belongings of a pilot who was killed during the Second World War.

Imperfect27 Tue 22-Aug-17 10:49:28

Just catching up on threads after our holidays.

I love Khalil Gibran's writings - we had the reading about Joy and Sorrow at my DD2's funeral and I then gave a eulogy in which I referred to her as 'Our delight'.

I do believe there is profound truth in this:

On Joy and Sorrow
Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

TriciaF Tue 22-Aug-17 11:20:05

I like this quote from Wordsworth:
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar" ............
And later :
" Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the Children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore. "