If I should die and leave you here awhile,
Be not like others, sore undone, who keep
Long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.
For my sake – turn again to life and smile,
Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
Something to comfort other hearts than thine.
Complete those dear unfinished tasks of mine
And I, perchance, may therein comfort you.
Mary Lee Hope
I first heard this poem when Lady Sarah McCorquodale read it at the funeral of her sister, Princess Diana. It touched me deeply, as a beloved aunt of mine was battling cervical cancer at the time. This poem was a great comfort to me when she ultimately lost her fight.
The past week has been beyond comprehension here in western Connecticut. Newtown is a neighbor, a friendly, welcoming town where I sometimes shop. As a teacher, this tragedy has the added anguish of knowing that my colleagues died defending their students. As a parent, I cannot fathom the despair the families are feeling right now, as they try to deal with their grief and loss.
Our country did a lot of soul-searching over the past week. Going about our daily lives seemed impossible. And yet we have gone on. Here at school, it is the children who make this possible. Each day, more than ever, I look forward to being with my students.
We owe it to the dedicated educators who died to take up their “dear unfinished tasks.” We must do everything in our power to create a world filled with love and joy; a world where all children can grow and flourish into the fullness of themselves.
Thanks to Heidi at my juicy little universe for hosting today’s roundup.
3 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Turn Again to Life”
So very well put Catherine and I do love this poem. I’ve been thinking about you this past week…thinking you must feel very, very close to the situation in Newtown. Even here in suburban, Philadelphia I find myself weeping in the car when a moving piece of music comes over the radio.
We’re heading up to Washington tonight (returning on Sunday)… I think we’re all going to hug the ones we love, a little tighter this year!
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Beautiful poem and sentiments, Catherine. I agree…all we can do is try to spread as much love as possible.
[…] originally posted this on December 21, 2012, one week after the tragedy at Newtown. I am posting it again today, in a slightly modified […]