Apr 22, 2009
When my Dad was dying from cancer, the hospice folks gave us a little booklet. At the very end was this poem. It's stuck with me even after all these months but it also eased some of the pain in my heart.
Parable of Immortality ( A ship leaves . . . )
by Henry Van Dyke - 1852 - 1933
I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a peck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!
Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
'There she goes! ' ,
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
'Here she comes!'