I spent a few hours with Linda yesterday afternoon, and we talked and talked about any old thing that came into our heads. I told her about Frost's farmhouse and the view of the mountains from the front porch, and she told me that, when her mother-in-law died, she left behind a stack of old schoolbook poetry anthologies. Nobody else wanted them, so Linda gathered them up and stored them in her attic. Last week, after her daughter and grandchildren were killed, she went upstairs and got down those poetry books and started choosing poems to reprint on the funeral program and to display in other places during the service. In other words, she lamented their deaths by way of the sentiments of 1918 schoolbook publishers. For whatever reason, this seemed exactly right to me, and it made me doubly grateful I had not attempted to read anything at the service.
Here's the poem that Linda chose for the back of the program:
I Know Not What the Future HoldsI know not what the future hathOf marvel or surprise,Assured alone that life and deathHis mercy underlies.And if my heart and flesh are weakTo bear an untried pain,The bruised reed thou wilt not break,But strengthen and sustain.And so beside the silent seaI wait the muffled oar;No harm from him can come to meOn ocean or on shore.I know not where His islands liftTheir fronded palms in air;I only know I cannot driftBeyond His love and care.And thou, O Lord, by who are seenThy creatures as they be,Forgive me if too close I leanMy human heart on thee.