It he were alive, last Wednesday would have been my father’s 84th birthday. When he died in 1988, a friend gave this poem to me. It gave me a great deal of comfort then, it still does today, as it has many friends. It is often read as part of the eulogy. I know he’s around somewhere, hanging out with Granny Boo and Sandford…
Gone From My Sight
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 watch her until at
length 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 destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her;
and just at the moment when someone at my
side says,”There! She’s gone,” there are
other eyes watching her coming, and other
voices ready to take up the glad shout
“There she comes!”
Although it is often credited to “Anonymous,” I have found reference to it having been written by Henry Van Dyke, a 19th Century clergyman, educator, poet, and religious writer. Who knows?