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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sometimes Poetry Helps the Healing

I love William Blake. Some say he was crazy, but isn't that what they always say about visionaries?

There have been four deaths in our family in the past few months. One had lived a very long life, one was middle aged, one was about my husband's age (young senior), and one lived a life much too short. It seems so out of the order of things for parents to bury their children.

I was looking for something to make sense, if that's possible, of the death of the young. When I read Blake's poem, it made me think of Aslan in C.S. Lewis' Narnia stories. The little girl appears to be in danger, but, in the end, there is no fear and her parents find her asleep and safe in the lion's palace.

O Lord, let it be so for all those who grieve for lives cut short. Their number is legion. One of the ladies serving the funeral luncheon today told me her work there today had been a great healing to her because she lost a daughter herself years ago. We cried together for the family experiencing so painful a loss and her own personal tragedy from the past. All the way home I reflected that this is, indeed, a vale of tears. May God give us all hope, strength, and courage as we pass through it on our journey. And may the poets speak a universal language to our hearts to bring comfort.


All the night in woe
Lyca's parents go
Over vallies deep,
While the desarts weep.

Tired and woe-begone.
Hoarse with making moan,
Arm in arm seven days
They trac’d the desart ways
 Seven nights they sleep
Among shadows deep,
And dream they see their child
Starv’d in desart wild.

Pale, thro’ pathless ways
The fancied image strays
Famish’d, weeping, weak
With hollow piteous shriek.

Rising from unrest,
The trembling woman prest’
With feet of weary woe:
She could no further go.

In his arms he bore
Her, arm’d with sorrow sore;
Till before their way
A couching lion lay. 

Turning back was vain:
Soon his heavy mane
Bore them to the ground.
Then he stalk’d around,

Smelling to his prey;
But their fears allay
When he licks their hands,
And silent by them stands.

They look upon his eyes
Fill’d with deep surprise;
And wondering behold
A spirit arm’d in gold.

On his head a crown,
On his shoulders down
Flow’d his golden hair.
Gone was all their care.

“Follow me,” he said;
“Weep not for the maid;
In my palace deep
Lyca lies asleep.”

Then they followed
Where the vision led,
And saw their sleeping child
Among tygers wild.

To this day they dwell
In a lonely dell’
Nor fear the wolvish howl
Nor the lion’s growl.

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