For a Friend: R.I.P.

For a Friend: R. I. P.

It’s nearly five years since you left
heralded by the promise of sun
still beneath the December horizon
but soon to rise in full radiance

lighting the path of your journey out.
Wherever that out is, you are there.
The drama of grieving done, I
approach that same threshold

without fear, only trust, and mini-
mum curiosity, knowing I must work
while I have the light. Soon enough night
will come, and then no work will be

done. Is that how it is for you: Done?
Or are the stories of busy saints true?
Is the absence of clocked time a boon
that allows you to do what you will

for “hours” on end? Come back to the
desk, I tell myself. Pick up the pen
and work on the poems. Honor her
and her work by doing your own.

One thought on “For a Friend: R.I.P.

  1. Judith, this is quite wonderful. Thank you, for the reflection and the advice. At my mother’s funeral the hymn I chose was “Come Labor On”…. In case you don’t know it I’ll post it… Not to say that I absolutely love all the language, but it’s a rousing melody and much of the imagery resonates for me.

    Come, labor on!
    Who dares stand idle, on the harvest plain
    While all around him waves the golden grain?
    And to each servant does the Master say,
    “Go work today.”

    Come, labor on!
    Claim the high calling angels cannot share—
    To young and old the Gospel gladness bear;
    Redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.
    The night draws nigh.

    Come, labor on!
    The enemy is watching night and day,
    To sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;
    While we in sleep our duty have forgot, He slumbered not.

    Come, labor on!
    Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!
    No arm so weak but may do service here:
    By feeblest agents may our God fulfill
    His righteous will.

    Come, labor on!
    No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
    Till the long shadows o’er our pathway lie,
    And a glad sound comes with the setting sun,
    “Well done, well done!”

    Come, labor on!
    The toil is pleasant, the reward is sure;
    Blessèd are those who to the end endure;
    How full their joy, how deep their rest shall be,
    O Lord, with Thee!


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