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The day after All Souls’ Day

Sunday, 3 November, 2013

All Hallows’ Eve is the eve of All Saints’ Day, which is then followed by All Souls’ Day, which was yesterday. In Mexico, the triduum becomes El Dia de los Muertos, when the dead, and death itself, are made welcome by the living. In her poem All Souls’ Day, Frances Bellerby dreads death, but the dead themselves are “scatheless” (harmless). The final verse contains a November chill: “and the leaves where you walk do not stir”.

So perhaps we should move cat-soft
meanwhile, and leave everything unsaid,
until no shadow of risk can be left
of disturbing the scatheless dead.

Ah, but you were always leaf-light.
And you so seldom talk
as we go. But there at my side
through the bright leaves you walk.

And yet — touch my hand
that I may be quite without fear,
for it seems as if a mist descends,
and the leaves where you walk do not stir.

Frances Bellerby (1899 — 1975)

Angel of Mercy


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