I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down
to meet and mingle with each other.
Then some one at my side says,
“There! She’s gone!”
Gone from my sight, that is all.
She is just as large in the mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side,
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of her destination.
Her diminished size is in me, and not in her.
And just at that moment, when some one
at my side says, “There! she’s gone!”
there are other eyes that are watching for her coming
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout,
“There she comes!”
And that is—dying.—
— (attributed to) Henry Van Dyke – A Parable of Immortality
In memory of Anouk Sung Ja Henn † 22/07/2012.