I know this lady well. So do many of you. To the extent we know her,
we know she is not here.
We know she has always been an example of the Lord's statement, "The spirit gives life; the flesh is of no avail." She was physically frail. What we remember is her indomitable spirit, her vitality of heart and mind. We know that one such as she will not live in a cage. Certain freedom-loving birds are like that, too. When the flesh became a barrier, rather than a tool, she would decide to be free.
She knew the truth that sets us free--free from life-long bondage to the fear of death--the truth that Jesus used his own body to demonstrate: when we die, we leave our body of flesh and continue as a spirit. She wrote:
GO AWAY, GABRIEL
Aloft ... far off ..
in luminous dark and virgin timelessness,
I drifted ... dreamlessly suspended
upon the silver-threaded, variant song
of an invisible soloist who poured
his whole transcendent ecstasy of Being
into the delighted ears of God.
Erratic static rattled my receptors
into un-wanted consciousness
that the angelic voice
was only a mocking-bird, night-singing
outside the hospital wall ...
and the racket, a new room-mate yelling:
Shut up, you darn-fool bird,
and let me sleep!
Laughter strummed a pain beneath my ribs;
and a sardonic saxophone of thought replied:
Oh, Yes! If Gabriel himself shall choose
to sound his glorious trumpet in the night
instead of in the more convenient day,
some folks will yank the blankets up,
and plug their ears, and snarl:
Go away, Gabriel; and let me sleep!
And Gabriel, I think, will do just that;
and those whom mocking-birds-at-night annoy
will never wake to hear ... much less to be ...
angels, whose gladness penetrates
dumb fear, dense pain, dark loneliness,
to lift the spirit free of baneful bones,
out ... into boundless joy.
But Gabriel need not whistle twice for me
if he can lip such rapturous melody
as mocking-birds rain skyward in the night!
On such a song, I made my solo flight;
and I will wake exultant in that hour
when joy, long practiced, is the power
on which I rise to immortality.
MY LOST HEART SEEKS ITS STAR
My heart was drawn to yours when you came near.
We orbited as one until that year ...
that night. You sped too far away ... too far
along the star-dust path to some new star.
My self was so en-grown on yours, my heart
was torn out, bleeding, when we had to part.
The limping pulse death left to me was just
enough of love to do what duty must.
Nine thousand, and twelve tens of days have spun
their spiral webs of contrails round the sun;
and still I fling my lost heart into space,
yearning to find your orbit ... your embrace.
SING ME TO SLEEP
When life is done,
its battles won ... or lost,
just lay me by
without a sigh for cost.
Some dread to die;
not so am I ... but glad.
Life is the shroud
of misty cloud, and sad.
Death is the gate
that, soon or late, sets free
and opens eyes,
and clears the skies, for me.
Then strength shall race
freer than space on wings;
and I shall know,
and see, and do ... all things.
Mourn not for me!
Parting is brief ... not long.
No, do not weep;
hush me to sleep with song.