November Poem In Memoriam For All Souls

For all those who have died in this November month of Remembrance, for All Souls a poem from Alfred Lord Tennyson....
This is also a special day of remembrance for me as my mother died on this day in 1996 and it is also the anniversary of her youngest brother, my Uncle Tommy,(Thomas O'Donoghue ), aged 20, who was a cabin boy on the steamship, The Irish Pine en route from Dublin to Boston when it was sunk by a German U- boat in 1942.
All thirty three crew on board were lost. 
I never met my Uncle Tommy but in some inexplicable way I have always felt a strong affinity with him. He was a boy soprano and taught himself to play the piano. I can't play the piano but I am musical !
A few days before my mother died in the hospice I took her into the chapel where there was a huge and beautiful mosaic on the wall of a harbour with a lighthouse and she was staring at it for a long time. 
She started to talk about my Uncle Tommy and she said she always wondered if he had ever made it ashore. 
I never realised the day she died was the same day as he was lost at sea until one my mother's sisters told me. This is the report of the sinking of The Irish Pine from here.

"At 00.14 hours on 16 Nov, 1942, U-608 fired one torpedo from a distance of 800 meters at the unescorted and neutral Irish Pine (Master Matthew O’Neill) and observed a hit in the stern after 80 seconds. 
The U-boat had chased the ship for about eight hours, apparently not noticing the neutrality markings because of bad visibility in stormy weather with rain and snow squalls in which the contact was frequently lost and regained. The very rough seas also caused a first torpedo to miss at 23.39 hours on 15 November. 
The ship immediately began to settle by the stern after the hit until she sank vertically at 00.17 hours. The crew was seen to abandon ship in a lifeboat with a very bright light by the Germans, but they did not approach it and the survivors were never found."

In Memoriam : Preface

Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove; 
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made. 

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just. 
Vivien Blackburn from here
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou:
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they. 
We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow. 
Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before, 
But vaster. We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light. 

Forgive what seem’d my sin in me;
What seem’d my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.
 Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
 I trust he lives in thee, and there
 I find him worthier to be loved. 
Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth, 
And in thy wisdom make me wise. 

Prodigal son from flickr here
Alfred Lord Tennyson 1849.

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