Thursday, September 20, 2012


This is not meant to be maudlin or morbid or an indulgence in sentimentality. Think of it rather as a meditation. After my Blog about Merrill’s deterioration we received a number of sympathetic messages amongst which was one from our friend Ray Bluett in Tasmania. When his own dog died he tells us, evidently his vet quoted an old comforting saying by an anonymous writer the last line of which is “we walked together for a little while,” and, reading it, I couldn’t help but feel that sentiment summons up so succinctly the beginning and ending, the all of our existence. I read somewhere once that when you reach the ripe old age of seventy or more (probably more as we seem to be living longer and longer – some of us that is) if you have six friends remaining from forty years ago consider yourself lucky. Well I must be lucky as I can think of at least ten still with us, still walking together, but how many many are no longer with us. They walked their while with us and are gone: family, relations, friends, old lovers, pets no longer with us, some unfortunately dying very young.  All we have are the memories of the time we walked together. Of course it is not only those who have died; some friends just disappear into the blue and one can’t help wondering why. Maybe it’s just the natural way of things, everything eventually coming to its inevitable end. Even a relationship that lasts for say fifty or sixty years or more is but a nanosecond in the great scheme of things.
My mother, apart from the occasional aria like “Softly Awakes My heart” from “Samson and Delilah” loved to sing those sentimental old Victorian ballads that I remember to this day. Such a one is “I’ll walk beside you.”

I'll walk beside you through the world today
While dreams and songs and flowers bless your way
I'll look into your eyes and hold your hand
I'll walk beside you through the golden land.

I'll walk beside you through the world tonight
Beneath the starry skies ablaze with light
Within your soul love's tender words I'll hide
I'll walk beside you through the eventide.

I'll walk beside you through the passing years
through days of cloud and sunshine, joys and tears
And when the great call comes, the sunset gleams
I'll walk beside you to the land of dreams.

Another was…

Once in the dear dead days beyond recall
When on the world the mists began to fall,
Out of the dreams that rose in happy throng
Lo to our hearts love sung an old sweet song
And in the dusk where fell the firelight gleam,
Softly it wove itself into our dream.

Just a song at when the lights are low,
And the flick’ ring shadows,
Softly come and go,
Though the heart be weary,
Sad the day and long
Still to us at twilight comes love’s old song,
Comes love’s old sweet song.

Our dad’s party piece whenever he was asked to sing was “Somewhere a voice is calling.”

They might have been Victorian but they have still been sung by modern artistes including Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra and I guess when my time comes people will hear my voice calling and remember I walked beside them for a little while.

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