Wednesday, March 11, 2020

She Starts for the Blue Ocean

She Starts for the Blue Ocean

“I am standing upon 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 her until she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.

“Then someone at my side says: ‘There! She’s gone!’
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 place of her destination.
Her diminished size is in me, and not in her.

“And just at the moment
when someone at my side says: ‘There! She’s gone!’
there are other eyes that are watching for her coming;
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
‘There she comes!’”

*.   *.    *.   *.   *.  *.  *. 

Leave a tender moment alone.  Let the mystery be.  Just read this poem and reflect on life, death, ocean journeys.

Or/And: Stir into the water of this moving poem some Blue Theology, ocean spirituality.

-Many hospices and funeral homes hand out printed copies of this poem.

-A not-original last line is often added – “And that is dying.”

-Its title is “Gone from My Sight,” written probably by Luther Beecher, often credited to Henry Van Dyke, both cool 19th century divines.

-If Van Dyke wrote it, he’s also the author of the English words to “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” – “Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest.”

-It wasn’t just the Vikings who saw death as an ocean journey.

-The death journey is not always as peaceful as this pic.  Still, a moving image and possibility -  we move from this coastline, over the depths, to a new shore.

-The world is round, so is the ocean, vaster than our little shore, our limited sight.

-There she comes, death as coming, not (just) leaving.

-Great phrases like “bear her load of living freight,” “her diminished size is in me, not in her,” “other eyes watching for her coming.”

-What moves you in this poem?
I post these ocean devotionals every Wednesday here and on Facebook has details of pilgrimages and service trips along Monterey Bay.  Sail on silver bird!

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