Sorrow

JAMES Guthrie A Highland funeral
painting Guthrie, Sir James (1859 – 1930, Scottish) Scotland, Highlands (place associated) 1882 oil on canvas unframed dimensions: 1295 x 1930 mm; framed: 1762 x 2398 x 60 mm Painting entitled ‘A Highland funeral’, by Sir James Guthrie, 1882 1060

It was nearly dark when we gathered

wintry grey skies

snow on the ground

freezing our feet

through worn out boots

 

We took off our caps

and bowed our heads

as the minister spoke the Benediction

sending him to his Maker.

 

Too young to die

this child of Mary and Joe

too young

when they had such hopes for him.

 

We hear her keening in the house

a high-pitched sound

of grief from her guts

and we look away

at anything

at the snow on the ground

at the minister

at the wee coffin on the two chairs

we look at anything

but that window

in case we see her face there.

 

Too young to die

this child

We’ve seen it before

of course

but we all saw the potential in this one.

That’s what breaks our hearts.

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