These Four Lights


These Four Lights

My child, I’ve come to understand four lights,
by which I’ve walked my troubled way, knew
them as friends throughout my blackest nights.
And now it’s done, as I sink out of view,
my blood, I pass them gladly on to you.

The first lights up the eyes of God and so
through it we glimpse His face, infinity,
the universe, our place within the flow
of life: thus offers us stability:
the brightest hope for all humanity.

And now the second lights our race, our world,
shows all our tribal actions on this tract
called Earth and shines upon the flag unfurled
by which we gladly march, pro patria intact,
to kill and still avoid hell’s cataract.

This third, so dear to me as my end nears
burns bright on us and each one we call ours,
those of our name, through joys through fears through tears
binds us together through the passing hours
should paths be roughly paved or decked with flowers.

And now this fourth, the brightest and the best:
that’s yours! That’s yours the instant of your birth
unchanging should you guard its interest
and may live on if what you do has worth
so long as Man shall walk his mother earth.
Child, tend it well: this fourth light is your sun
as you are mine to shine when I am gone.



In answer to the query, Sam, the above was the poem referred to throughout my first novel, More Deaths Than One

I wrote it as if through the mind and the pen of John Macrae, deceased father of our viewpoint character, Thomas Thornton. But you cannot write a poem like this one without incorporating in it some of your own philospohy.

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