All that truly matters will remain...

Hampton Ponds in Westfield, MA by JKS

 Jack Sheaffer, a pastor from the Diocese of Springfield, MA, blogs at Poetry and Idle Thoughts (Old and New) which I've just added to my blogroll on the sidebar.

Jack's most recent post, Alzheimer's: for Hugh, was prefaced with these introductory remarks on his FaceBook page:
I haven't been writing much lately but this one has been working itself through my mind for the past few weeks. A friend of mine has Alzheimer's Disease and we had dinner at another friend's house on Hampton Ponds recently. He and I sat together for at least and hour and a half talking and enjoying the sunset. The parallels between the sunset and his disease kept coming up in my mind. I'm not sure the poem is finished but I decided to publish it anyway...
If you have loved and lived with, if you are friends with someone with Alzheimer's, you'll understand how heart-wrenching and exquisite are these lines.

For Hugh

We sat at the pond’s edge
Marveling at the beauty
Of the ebbing light of day
And its reflection
On the calm waters
Of dusk.

The expanse above,
Fading from brightest light
To invisible darkness,
Was made more beautiful
With each passing moment
By the sun
As it sank ever-deeper
Beyond the horizon.
Though far from our sight,
It made itself known
In prismic splendor.

As we sat
And sipped our scotch,
And watched the smoke from our cigars
Waft above our heads,
We reminisced about times past,
Of dreams realized,
And challenges met,
Of faith,
And about our fears
And hopes for
The future.

And from time to time,
In the midst of these weighty things,
He would ask me
Where we were
And how he got there.

And then, with the answer,
Temporarily in his mind
And quieting his fears,
We returned to his wisdom,
Still so bright,
Even as his mind sinks
Beyond the horizon.

It is a sad and fearful thing
To see that brilliant mind,
Like the sky of dusk,
Glowing but fading
Into the darkness
Of the Unknown
And the Forgotten.

But all that truly matters
Will remain
Even as the brightness
Dims into
The seeming nothingness
Of Night.
For faith resides in the Heart
And the Soul.
And, Illumined by the
Light of Faith,
We will greet
A New Day,
A day without end,
Given to us
By God.

©John Kennedy Sheaffer, 2012. All Rights Reserved

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