Crossing the Bar

Yesterday morning, before the sun arose, my father “crossed the bar”; from this life to the next,quietly, without fanfare, in his sleep.

I suspect that he wanted it this way, much like Tennyson, in his poem written in the late 1800’s, “Crossing the Bar”; the poet wished no fuss, no sadness about his departure. He hoped for a crossing that was aided by the tide, with no moaning, without “sound or foam”.

My father knew a lot about poetry, he would have told me that this one combines a mix of iambic meters. But in the end, I am comforted by the meaning I find within its metaphors of liminality.

For the poet, and for my father, making their way through the “thin-space” in the evening was an answer to a call they had received, culminating with a face to face with their God. A crossing without barriers, I am grateful for the safe voyage to the final harbor in this man’s amazing life.

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Crossing the Bar

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 though 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 crossed the bar.
 

I am also grateful to my little brother, who brought this jewel to my attention. May he find solace in its wisdom as well.

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One thought on “Crossing the Bar

  1. Dear amazing Laurie, thank you so much for this beautiful reflection, and for the gift of this poem and image. As I move through the fresh grief of Gary’s death, I was especially struck by the power of your final sentence: “A crossing without barriers, I am grateful for the safe voyage to the final harbor in this man’s amazing life.” Yes and amen. I am praying that the freedom that your father knows, that Gary knows, will somehow touch you and me in these days of grieving, and that we will know something of their relief and joy. Many blessings, much gratitude, and deep peace to you.

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