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Page 7

Darryl Emmerson

Well, I disagreed then, and still do.

But I could not say more at that time. I cannot remember how the visit ended, or whether the weary night nurse or the busy, masterful gardener, still active in the darkness, spoke to me on my way out. But I still feel the rank vitality of the plants, as they brush against me, still see, over the freeway, the dark sky with its faint stars, and still hear the gate close behind me, as I walk to the house I lived in then. The faces of those at home, my girl who saw too little, the friend who said too little, their halting words, are there even yet, but it took several years before they, too, slowly began to fade. Only then did all that part of my life pass away.

Later, I made myself look at the last verse of the poem, now transfused by the feelings of that evening. Was it possible that my mother was right? No, I felt, no, no, and though I was grieved to differ on something so important with one so loved, I was my mother's son, and could not change my beliefs for anyone, even for her. The lines held, if anything, even more truth for me:


     Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?

          Of labour you shall find the sum.

     Will there be beds for me and all who seek?

          Yea, beds for all who come.

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