A Benediction of Mourning

The waning October moon reluctantly rose,
pulling back from the full globe of a few nights before.

I drive a night darkened country road, white lines sweeping past,
aware of advancing frost in the evening haze,
anxious to return home to fireplace light.

Nearing a familiar corner, a stop sign loomed,
to the right, a rural cemetery sits silently expectant.

Open iron gates and tenebrous headstones,
in the middle path, incongruous, a car’s headlights beam bright.
I slowed, thinking: lovers or vandals would seek inky cover of night.

Instead, these lights illuminate a lone figure, kneeling graveside,
one hand resting heavily on a stone, head bowed in prayer.

A stark moment of solitary sorrow,
invisible grieving of the heart
focused by twin beams.

A benediction of mourning; light piercing their blackness,
as gentle fingertips trace the engraved letters of a beloved name.

An uneasy witness, I withdraw as if touched myself
and drive on into the night, struggling to see
through the thickening mist of my eyes and the road.

Angel of Grief–Stanford University

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6 thoughts on “A Benediction of Mourning

  1. Such marvelous photography and touching words! Your beautiful piece brought to mind this epigraph from Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow:
    “Magnanimous Despair alone
    Could show me so divine a thing…”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Greetings, Emily,
    This one hit me hard.
    On Wednesday our younger daughter lost her baby (4th child) through miscarriage, just one week shy of her second trimester.
    We kept a candle lit at our icon stand for three days as a kind of “benediction of mourning” and prayer for the repose of the soul of the baby and comfort for the family.
    We are praying that she will conceive again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautifully described almost mystical experience in a silent meditation on loss, grieving, loneliness aided by the looming darkness — except, almost by an unseen hand, we see the LIGHT — always the LIGHT – that attests His Presence here as He has always promised us — that He would be there with us through it all!

    Liked by 1 person

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