One love letter. One sepia photograph.
Gathering dust and clinging webs
The attic cache lies in wait
Trunks and boxes long untouched
The time has come to investigate
Sepia photos, cracked and faded
Sticking pages, broken binding
Letters home, bound with twine
The tales of war, I am finding
Peruse the pictures, study the faces
So full of youthful determination
His postures straight, those twinkling eyes
Would soon be witness to an extermination
Ravaged, disfigured, lungs burned by gas
Returned to England, the war barely survived
Haunted by nightmares, wracked by cough
This broken man came home to die
War upon his sweetheart, laid the burden
Tore away the chance for a happy life
For the babe that quickened in 1914
Was all that he left his beloved wife
(Header image: The Ypres Salient at Night – Paul Nash, artist)
Death has been close to the surface of my mind this past week. I have no explanation for it. I refuse to say it’s because of David Bowie’s passing, or Alan Rickman’s.
Thursday, I had such an aching for my father. I lost him in 2009. All I can say is as a beloved daughter, he was my first hero. He didn’t live long enough to see me become the woman I am today. I’d like to think he’d be proud. No, I know he would. That’s what fathers do. They are proud. They are your first and last line of defense in a cruel world.
I find this strange song by Hozier comforting. It describes two bodies decomposing in a field. I imagine these two lovers, not being able to find peace without one another, choosing to go out together. They return to the dust from which they were made. Feasted on by insects and the beasts of the field, they are part of nature’s inevitable cycle.
It feels like everything stops when we lose someone, when we grieve. But the earth still turns, the lifeless organic matter breaks down, the tissues dissolve, the atoms fly off into space and are recycled into new things, matter never created nor destroyed.
Anyway… I’ve visited Kilkenny Castle, where this video was filmed. Enjoy this tragically beautiful song.