Remembrance of the Departed
It is an act bequeathed to us in deep wisdom, by men of holiness.
We come to understand its purpose not in vigorous youth,
amidst the company of loved ones, family, friends;
but with age.
Parents have passed; peers now pass as well. Where go they?
It seems unguessable, unfathomable, beyond our grasp.
Yet as with some foreordained clarity, it dawns for us,
it glimmers - no, they have not vanished.
And no more shall we learn of it, while we live.
But a prayer for their souls - it casts from us to them,
from them to us, an impalpable arch of measureless breadth
yet effortless proximity.
Why, here they are, you can almost touch them.
Both unknowable are they and, as ever, so familiar.
Except, they have fallen back in years:
Some were older than we, but now are younger.
Focusing, you even inhale their answer,
their hesitation, their warning.
In exchange, you send them your own earthly warmth:
Perhaps we too can help somehow?
And a promise: We shall meet.
The Boat of Longing
O. E. Rolvaag
From the Foreword
I am interested in human beings. And there will scarcely
be a life history which it would not be interesting to look
at if it were singled out for scrutiny.
Giants in the Earth
O. E. Rolvaag
TO THOSE OF MY PEOPLE WHO
TOOK PART IN THE GREAT SETTLING,
TO THEM AND THEIR GENERATIONS
I DEDICATE THIS NARRATIVE