National Poetry Month: Crossing The Bar

I’ve had death on my mind for a while now. It’s probably because my dad is in ill health and I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be in this world.

I want to live a long life and live to be 99 and ½ so I can participate in the tricentennial. I’m not looking to die anytime soon but I have given my funeral more thought than average. There are certain songs I want played. There are definitely certain poems I want read. Today, tomorrow and Friday, I’ll be posting the poems I want read at my funeral.

The first is “Crossing The Bar” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I don’t know when I first encountered it, probably in junior high, but it has stuck with me. And, coincidentally, I’ve discovered that my maternal grandfather, the one that my middle name comes from, had this poem printed on his funeral memorial cards.

“Crossing The Bar” sums up everything I feel about death and dying. I’d rather people not cry at my funeral. I’m not sure what lies ahead after this world but I have faith that it’ll be better.

“Crossing The Bar” — Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,
     And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
     When I put out to sea,

  But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
     Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
     Turns again home.

  Twilight and evening bell,
     And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
     When I embark;

  For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
     The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
     When I have crost the bar.

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