Our daughter Eleanor died on 21st April of this year.
You want to know what’s happening to me where I am now,
which makes me reach for something that will represent the calm, slow
Transformation I’m undergoing. If I ever thought of heaven I imagined
Instantaneous change because I lived in a culture with a fashion
For not waiting. And philosophers ask, if you don’t grow older
In heaven, how can you grow? In this place we grow where
Time and space exist without decay, and death has died out.
External obstacles to growth have been removed, but what about
The internal obstacles, the wrong desire, the bad faith, the stubborn
Addiction? It’s these that constrain us to make such a buggering
Mess of life. So, listen up, while I give you the metaphor of water:
You know my passion for mountains and geology. Give thought to
The way the mountain streams have cut through solid rock
over thousands of years, and not by overwhelming shock
But persistent slow erosion, a soft bite daily into granite
Schist or sandstone, which in time will undermine it.
Or think of the red cliffs at Arbroath, where volcanic pressure
Flung great shelves of seabed into air, home for rock-pigeons, treasure-
-house of fossils, worked from above by rain and from below
By the ceaseless crepitation of the sea. Yes, sometimes a wind-blow
Can knock an adult over, but more than the battering
Of winter storms and spring gales the gentle pattering
Of each day’s tides has worked the arches, spires and dungeons
Where you and I have walked, feet touching the junction
Of land and the sea’s persuasion. The rule of heaven is not control;
Love is not force; God works like water on the soul.