Last night at tutoring I saw the teen son of man who was killed in a car accident last week. As he was busy with his tutor, it was not the place to go over and offer a word or a hug, but when back at home I wondered what I would say to him. Upon reflection, here is some poetry from Das, Housman, and the Sons of Korah, respectively. The image of a continent sinking is from C.S. Lewis’s account of his feelings when his mother died.
what could i who’d known
such loss tell him; knowing is
none of the battle
what is there to say
of continents sunk, mountains
cast into the sea
walking new landscapes
joys tucked behind shadows in
the contours of grief
Twice a week the winter thorough
Here stood I to keep the goal:
Football then was fighting sorrow
For the young man’s soul.
Now in Maytime to the wicket
Out I march with bat and pad:
See the son of grief at cricket
Trying to be glad.
Try I will; no harm in trying:
Wonder ’tis how little mirth
Keeps the bones of man from lying
On the bed of earth.
-A.E. Housman from A Shropshire Lad
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
The last is comfort, indeed…but comfort which I confess even after all these years I am still learning to believe in.