fold your hands

What I've been up to

As I mentioned last time, I've been down south for the funeral of my grandmother Joy.

My brother Andrew and sister-in-law Alice, who are wonderful, have made an Advent calendar about how churches can be welcoming to everyone, with each day written by a different person and discussing a different group: the Inclusive Advent Calendar.

A poem

This is the poem I read at my grandmother's funeral.

ODE TO JOY by Marnanel Thurman

Our Joy has left us. Should we say goodbye?
Not while we smile recalling what she said;
not while the sharp remembrance of her eye
surprises us through all the days ahead;
not while the greenest branches of her tree
still show her love for living and for learning;
not while each grandchild welcomed on her knee
holds hope the world should never tire of turning;
not while our Joy lives on. The Prince of Peace
who holds her safe until we meet again
will call us too, where separations cease,
and builds a bridge between the now and then,
a bridge that even death could not destroy.
So lives our love, our hope, for peace for Joy.

A picture

I wanted to show you a happy photo, so here's one of my grandparents when they came up to Cambridge for formal hall at my college. I think it's from 1998.

Formal hall

Another poem

This is Kipling's biography of Napoleon Bonaparte.

"Gay go up, gay go down" in the third stanza is a rhyme that was used at the time by children on seesaws. Can anyone explain the odd stress pattern on "Trafalgar" in the fifth stanza?

This is Kipling's biography of Napoleon Bonaparte. "Gay go up, gay go down" in the third stanza is a rhyme that was used at the time by children on seesaws. Can anyone explain the odd stress pattern on "Trafalgar" in the fifth stanza?

A ST HELENA LULLABY by Rudyard Kipling

"How far is St. Helena from a little child at play?"
What makes you want to wander there with all the world between?
Oh, Mother, call your son again, or else he'll run away.
(No one thinks of winter when the grass is green!)

"How far is St. Helena from a fight in Paris street?"
I haven't time to answer now– the men are falling fast.
The guns begin to thunder, and the drums begin to beat.
(If you take the first step, you will take the last!)

"How far is St. Helena from the field of Austerlitz?"
You couldn't hear me if I told– so loud the cannons roar.
But not so far for people who are living by their wits.
("Gay go up" means "Gay go down" the wide world o'er!)

"How far is St. Helena from the Emperor of France?"
I cannot see– I cannot tell– the crowns they dazzle so.
The Kings sit down to dinner, and the Queens stand up to dance.
(After open weather, you may look for snow!)

"How far is St. Helena from the Capes of Trafalgar?"
A longish way– a longish way– with ten year more to run.
It's South across the water underneath a setting star.
(What you cannot finish, you must leave undone!)

"How fair is St. Helena from the Beresina ice?"
An ill way– a chill way– the ice begins to crack.
But not so far for gentlemen who never took advice.
(When you can't go forward, you must e'en come back!)

"How far is St. Helena from the field of Waterloo?"
A near way– a clear way– the ship will take you soon.
A pleasant place for gentlemen with little left to do.
(Morning never tries you till the afternoon!)

"How far from St. Helena to the Gate of Heaven's Grace?"
That no one knows– that no one knows– and no one ever will.
But fold your hands across your heart and cover up your face,
And after all your trapesings, child, lie still!