Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die. I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky. I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast. My cheek like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed. Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have kissed young love on the lips, I have heard his song to the end. I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend. I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well. I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell. Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I give a share of my soul to the world where my course is run. I know that another shall finish the task I must leave undone. I know that no flower, nor flint was in vain on the path I trod. As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God. Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
The following was composed in 1943 by Sgt. Maurice Dudley Chasmer, Wireless Operator /Air Gunner (Wop/AG) with 434 Squadron RAF.
"I would not have you grieve when I am gone, I have no sorrow that my life is spent, As happy a man as ever sun shone on, My life has been a joy, and I'm content. I have known the glory of an English day, The soft whisper of rain on grateful trees, The happy song of birds at break of day, The drifting wood-smoke on the evening breeze. No regrets that all these things are fled, I shall find joy whatever lies ahead."
On the night of 27/28 September 1943, 73 Halifaxes from 419, 427, 428, 429, and 434 Squadrons were joined by 9 Wellingtons from 432 Squadron for an attack at Hanover.
P/O O. Lytle RCAF and crew, flying Halifax V LK-917 coded WL-X, failed to return from this operation.
The crew members were:-
Sgt E. Elder RAF Sgt H. Lindsay RAF W/O2 R. Pedlar RCAF F/Sgt J. Monteith RCAF Sgt M. Chasmar RAF F/Sgt H. Hansell RCAF F/Sgt J. Leach RCAF
If he flew, then this one; or maybe even if he didn't.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long delirious, burning blue I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, Where never lark, or even eagle, flew; And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Location: Not fussed, as long as it's "Child Friendly"
Here's my Father's favourite poem which I read at his funeral last year. Could have been written for him...
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT - DYLAN THOMAS
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I have a tear in my eye now just reading it here...
Some fantastic poems posted. Here is one that I particularly like:
You can shed tears that she is gone or you can smile because she has lived. You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back or you can open your eyes and see all she's left. Your heart can be empty because you can't see her or you can be full of the love you shared. You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday. You can remember her and only that she's gone or you can cherish her memory and let it live on. You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on. Anonymous
I'd known the old chap for 20 years or so. For the first half we never got on all that well. However, over the last few years, as his condition got worse, we found a common love of flying and aircraft.
The stories of his time in the Navy and the Far East after WW2 will be greatly missed.
Bye Old Chap
they range between 8 and 13 and there are lots of them!!!
Where appropriate, substitute Him and Her or She and Him.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead, Put crępe bows round the white necks of the public
doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow I am the diamond glints in the snow I am the sunlight on ripened grain I am a gentle Autumn's rain
When you awaken in the morning hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight I am the soft stars that shine at night So do not stand at my grave and cry I am not there; I did not die
My father -- who spent five years in the Royal Air Force and served in the UK, India, Burma (Myanmar), Malaya (Malaysia), Singapore and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) during and after WW2 has had several brushes with death recently.
The last was caused by a blood clot in his heart which was the result of an operation he had. The op was a direct result of an ankle ulcer he got while walking through the Burmese jungle (no, they didn't fly everywhere in SE Asia in WW2).
The poems listed above are wonderful.
But when Dad's time comes, and I fear it may be soon, I won't be able to read any of them without bursting into tears.
Perhaps you may surprise yourself, angels. When my own father (ex R.A.F.) died not so long ago, my daughter and I chose the things we wanted to read. In the car on the way to the church, she said to me, "I can't do this." I made a deal with her that I would not cry while I was reading and neither would she during her turn but that we could cry as much as we liked as soon as we finished.
We stood together holding hands and my daughter read a passage from the bible and I read the High Flight poem mentioned here. Both of us were shaking and both of us had bruised hands at the end of it but we made it. Only just barely, but we made it. I was so proud of her clear, strong voice and expressive, measured reading. She was my father's only grandchild and he had loved her so very much.
If you think you will have trouble doing your reading, try doing it with someone. You can walk up together and support each other while you get through it. It really, really helps. Best wishes to you, PondLifeMan and you too angels.
I dont know wheather your father flew or not but this one I want read out at my funeral...
I hope there's a place, way up in the sky, Where pilots can go, when they have to die. A place where a guy could buy a cold beer For a friend and a comrade whose memory is dear. A place where no doctor or lawyer could tread, Nor a management -type would e'er be caught dead! Just a quaint little place, kind of dark, full of smoke, Where they like to sing loud, and love a good joke! The kind of a place where a lady could go, And feel safe and secure by the men she would know. There MUST be a place where old pilots go, when Their wings become weary, when their airspeed gets low; Where the whiskey is old, and the women are young, And songs about flying and dying are sung. Where you'd see all the fellows who'd "flown west" before, And they'd call out your name, as you came thru the door, Who would buy you a drink, if the thirst should be bad, And relate to the others, "He was quite a good lad!" And then thru the mist you'd spot an old guy You had not seen for years, though he'd taught YOU to fly, He'd nod his old head, and grin ear to ear, And say, "Welcome, my son, I'm pleased you are here! For this is the place where true flyers come, When the battles are over, and the wars have been won; We've come here at last, to be safe and afar, From the government clerk, and the management czar, Politicians and lawyers, the Feds and the noise, Where all Hours are Happy, and these good ol' boys, Can relax with a 'cool one', and a well deserved rest.."
"This is Heaven, my son: You've passed your last check!"
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 tho' 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 cross'd the bar.
Tried to read this at my father's funeral last year, in front of several senior naval officers, but, being that close to the coffin was the point when I realised he was gone. I buckled. One of the hardst things I have done. My comiserations to all in this position.