All Souls’ Day

Jules Bastien-Lepage

Here is that dreadful sinner, DH Lawrence, with a mourning love poem:

All Souls’ Day

They are chanting now the service of All the Dead

And the village folk outside in the burying ground

Listen – except those who strive with their dead,

Reaching out in anguish, yet unable quite to touch them:

Those villagers isolated at the grave

Where the candles burn in the daylight, and the painted wreaths

Are propped on end, there, where the mystery starts.


The naked candles burn on every grave.

On your grave, in England, the weeds grow.


But I am your naked candle burning,

And that is not your grave, in England,

The world is your grave.

And my naked body standing on your grave

Upright towards heaven is burning off to you

Its flame of life, now and always, till the end.


It is my offering to you; every day is All Souls’ Day.


I forget you, have forgotten you.

I am busy only at my burning,

I am busy only at my life.

But my feet are on your grave, planted.

And when I lift my face, it is a flame that goes up

To the other world, where you are now.

But I am not concerned with you.

I have forgotten you.


I am a naked candle burning on your grave.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

This entry was posted in Art, Catholic Feasts, Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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