IN DEFIANCE OF ALL STORMS (in memory of Aidan Ward by Derrick Devine)

Death is the cliché we rarely dare to utter. It is everywhere and nowhere, ever present and yet somehow intangible. All too possible, a certainty, yes – for all of us – and yet, it can and does feel and seem, is in a way, absolutely and truly impossible.

It whispers, it murmurs, sits uneasily inside us, like a heavy feather, “ a diamond on a blade of grass”…It calls sweetly to us from outside on the wind, Siren-like, gently drawing us in. We struggle and battle with it alone and together by living as best we can or as best we merely do. We put story, laughter or fine music in our ears so as not to hear its dreadful, magical song. We tie ourselves to the mast of our true loves and desperate dreams. We batten down the hatches. We push on and try to make it through or at least find some shelter.

Sometimes, perhaps impressed with our fortitude and courage or maybe the respect we have been forced grudgingly to show it, Death, in return, shows us mercy. It relents and retreats, having given us a scare, a warning, a shot across the bow…

Other times, at its very worst, as if out of some terrible, heavenly tantrum or inexplicable whim, it whips up the sea, cracking down on even the finest of men mercilessly. It bellows up a cruel, unstoppable wave – one fit to overwhelm even the strongest of vessels – let alone this frail ship of ragged sailors who are simply trying to get somewhere, simply trying to be.

We sob, we wail or we mourn quietly, we descend into our own storms in our own way as is only human and only right.

Here is when we come to know we have no choice but to listen to that song. So we do and by doing so are rendered silent – our heads bowed. But it is here, in this strangest of silences, we are somehow reborn.

In this comes a kind of calming. Calm in the fear and knowledge that nothing will ever be the same. Never more lost. Never more inspired to find our way. We half-wish the storm raged on. Then we’d still have something to fight against, something real to rage against failingly. But now it has passed, is mostly passed, is forever passing – what can we do but ask ourselves what is there still to be done?

What can we do but survey the scene, gaze with soft, sad eyes up at the stars and out to the horizon, plot for the nearest harbour, set sail again albeit guiltily into our daily ceremonies and rituals, out into new waters with heavy hearts – one day for them to lighten.

Sail and sing to those who we have lost…singing from the hulls of our souls as we did so often and so joyfully with them. But now, we will sing all the louder, all the sweeter and all the more. For if it cannot be with them we sing, it can still be to them and for them. Sail and sing. Sing and sail. Sing too we will, in defiance of all storms and yes, the Simple Twist of one that takes a loved one from us.

“Come again no more…

Heave away… Heave away…

Come again no more…

Gone but not gone…

Shine on…

We all shine on…

Don’t stop…

Heave away… Heave away…

Heave away…”

– Derrick Devine –

Affiche

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