Monday, November 30, 2009

Preparing for the Funeral of a Three-Year-Old

My heart is breaking for my friend, who has lost her beloved daughter Sylvie. How can we say goodbye tomorrow morning? What words can I possibly offer?

These two poems offer no answers, but possibly some comfort.



Here lies resting, out of breath,

Out of turns, Elizabeth

Whose quicksilver toes not quite

Cleared the whirring edge of night.

Earth whose circles round us skim

Till they catch the lightest limb,

Shelter now Elizabeth

And for her sake trip up Death.

- X.J. Kennedy

On such a night, or such a night,
Would anybody care
If such a little figure
Slipped quiet from its chair --

So quiet -- Oh how quiet,
That nobody might know
But that the little figure
Rocked softer -- to and fro --

On such a dawn, or such a dawn --
Would anybody sigh
That such a little figure
Too sound asleep did lie

For Chanticleer to wake it --
Or stirring house below --
Or giddy bird in orchard --
Or early task to do?

There was a little figure plump
For every little knoll --
Busy needles, and spools of thread --
And trudging feet from school --

Playmates, and holidays, and nuts --
And visions vast and small --
Strange that the feet so precious charged
Should reach so small a goal!

- Emily Dickinson

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