A reflection in November, the month of All Souls

Image by Beau S.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”
“Gone where?”
Gone from my sight. That is all.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
“Here she comes!”
And that is dying.
-Henry Van Dyke


  1. I saw this on a card once and sent it to a friend who had just lost his wfie. He sought me out at the funeral to tell me that it got him through the wake/funeral. It is such a comforting mesage and a true one!


  2. I was asked to read this at my sister-law's funeral a few years back.

  3. What a nice image. Thanks for sharing this. It's so appropriate for this month.

  4. A minister had us standing on the shore at a funeral. He had us watch a ship cast off from the pier. We watched it maneuver out of the harbor. We saw it head out to the horizon. It got smaller and smaller. Finally, it disappeared over the horizon.
    The minister asked, "Is it really gone, or just out of sight?"
    This was said at a funeral. I never knew it was a Van Dyke poem.


Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!