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Thread: A few words for the dead

  1. #1
    ‹bermensch Jester*'s Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    United Kingdom
    some time back I read the book "The Black Cloud: Scottish Mountain Misadventures 1928 - 1966"
    One of the studies was that of Hugh A Barrie and Thomas Baird who tragically lost their lives in a terrible blizzard on 2nd January 1928. thereis a poem in the book, written by Barrie only a few months before his death which I found very moving.

    When I am dead
    And this strange spark of life that in me lies
    Is fled to join the great white core of life
    That surely flames beyond eternities,
    And all I ever thought of as myself
    Is mouldering to dust and cold death ash,
    This pride of nerve and muscle - merest dross,
    This joy of brain and eye and touch but trash,
    Bury me not, I pray thee
    In the dark earth where there comes not any ray
    Of light or warmth or aught that make life dear;
    But take my whitened bones far, far away
    Out of the hum and turmoil of the town,
    Find me a wind - swept boulder for a bier
    And on it lay me down
    Where far beneath drops sheer the rocky ridge
    Down to the gloomy valley, and the streams
    Fall foaming white against black beetling rocks:
    Where the suns kindly radiance seldom gleams:
    Where some tall peak, defiant, steadfast mocks
    The passing gods: and all the ways of men

    So I may know
    Even in that death which comes to everything
    The swiftly silent swish of hurrying snow;
    The lash of rain; the savage bellowing
    Of stags; the bitter keen - knife - edge embrace of the rushing
    wind: and the still tremulous dawn
    Will touch the eyeless sockets of my face;
    And I shall see the sunset and anon
    Shall know the velvet kindness of the night
    And see the stars.
    Hugh A Barrie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    United Kingdom
    James, thanks for sharing that. It's a beautiful piece and one that is quoted on a memorial to Barrie near Blackpark in Rothiemurchus.
    Seeing it again brought back memories to me. I once read it at the funeral of a very dear friend ? Harry McShane, who was once warden of the youth hostel in Crianlarich and who was an enthusiastic member of the Search and Rescue Dog Association.

  3. #3
    ‹bermensch Peewiglet's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    United Kingdom
    Beautiful, James: many thanks for posting it.

  4. #4
    Ultra King Jules aka  Bat Girl's Avatar
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    May 2003
    United Kingdom
    One to remember.

  5. #5
    ‹bermensch Jester*'s Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    United Kingdom
    I was in the local history department of Airdrie Library ysterday and came across a book from 1933 about local poets and their work. Looking down the list I was amazed to find Hiugh A Barrie listed. It seems he was a pupil for 5 years at Airdrie Academy, my stepdaughters school, and his mother was headmistress of the school in one of the local villages. A small world.

  6. #6
    Mini Goon Mark Hammonds's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for the poem, James.

  7. #7
    Goon Cammy's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    United Kingdom
    Lovely moving poem. I'm from Coatbridge and didnt know that Barrie was a local, interesting to know.

  8. #8
    Mini Goon Eyegor's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    United Kingdom
    Yes, a moving poem...and a great book (The Black Cloud)

    I'm reminded of another poem...

    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 glint on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.

    When you wake in the morning hush,
    I am the swift, uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    I am the soft starlight at night.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there, I do not sleep.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry.
    I am not there, I did not die.

    Mary Frye (1932)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    United Kingdom

    I came across Barrie's poem only last week, in the form of a very yellowed newspaper cutting pasted onto the flyleaf of a copy of University Verses - 1910 - 1927, quite possibly by someone who knew Barrie personally. It has a special resonance for me, as my friend Tom Brown, who worked, until his retirement last year, as a librarian at the Hamilton campus of UWS, went missing in Glen Steall at the beginning of July, and his body has not been recovered.

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