‘And loss, strangely, can attune you to what is beautiful about existence, even as it wounds you with what is awful.’ — Ryan Vandeput

‘I thought that love could last forever. I was wrong.’ — W. H. Auden

Yesterday, a week to the day Lucy died peacefully, my brother Paul brought Lucy home again for the last time after she was cremated at Summerleaze Pet Crematorium in Magor, Wales.

But Lucy was more than just a pet, more than just a dog, more than just an animal. At the age of just 1 (having already had a litter of pups), when I was just a boy, she was adopted from the RSPCA Rescue Shelter in Newport, came storming into our lives and gave us 21 very happy years of unconditional love and companionship. She had been a mother, was fun, faithful, loyal, gentle, tender, energetic, loving, beautiful, incredibly special and so much more to us. She loved everyone, and everyone loved Lucy. She had a good – a great – life, and although she lived to be 22 years old, loss is always hard to deal with, and we all miss her as a family / because she was one of the family. Even extended family and friends will miss our dear old friend. She is truly irreplaceable, never to be forgotten, loved & missed terribly.

We haven’t decided for certain yet, but we hope to intern Lucy’s ashes next to her old friend of 13 years, Bonny – the cat – a further testament to how sweet natured Lucy was. She will hopefully be placed under the spring flowers in the flower bed, and laid to rest in the garden, and we can say one last goodbye. Although she’s no longer with us physically, hopefully she will wait for us patiently until we too are ready to come home…


If you miss me as you live your life today,
Think of the glorious memories of yesterday,
Then look toward the northern sky,
Where at Rainbow Bridge we run, we play, we fly,
With other friends we wait for you there,
And until that day, we are the wind, ruffling your hair.

© 2014, Ryan Price
For Lucy, January 1992 – February 2014

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Goodbye Lucy, our faithful friend of 22 years. We loved you always; we will love you always; and you never stopped loving us. I hope you’re playing with your pal Bonny the cat at Rainbow Bridge and waiting for us to come home when our time on earth is complete. We miss you…

LUCY (a short verse)

If you miss me as you live your life today,
Think of the glorious memories of yesterday,
Then look toward the northern sky,
Where at Rainbow Bridge we run, we play, we fly,
With other friends we wait for you there,
And until that day, we are the wind, ruffling your hair.

© 2014, Ryan Price

For Lucy, January 1992 – February 2014

You can also follow public comments given for her on Facebook by clicking:
And here:

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Kahlil Gibran: On Reason and Passion

Posted from: Vale of Glamorgan CF61 1ZH, UK

Your soul is often at times a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both. Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows – then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”
And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky – then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.”
And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

Khalil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran: On Pain – “Much of your pain is self-chosen…”

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, 
even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. 
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, 
has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

– Kahlil Gibran
Image © Dr. Franky Dolan

Khalil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran: On Joy & Sorrow [with a personal reflection]

Posted from: Vale of Glamorgan CF61 1ZH, UK

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Khalil Gibran

• • •In this poem ‘Joy & Sorrow’, Kahlil Gibran likens the two as being inseparable. He beautifully encapsulated this conflict so wonderfully and succinctly. Even in this pain, there is a sense of wonder and bewilderment that the heart can feel a depth of sorrow by the very same instrument that delivered the sense of abounding happiness in the first place. 

It is a curious, baffling sensation. Where he used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly wandering around in lost the daytime, and falling into its depths at night. My knees are skinned from falling down into the unforgiving, cavernous abyss which he left behind.When hearts break, the scar-tissue and calluses on the heart amount to wisdom with time, or so we are told… If only that time would come sooner for healing to begin. Until then, I rest, and I hope that there really is hope, and I try… and I wait…

Contra Omnia Discrimina 

She is Gone – A Poem

You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived. You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared. You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she’s gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on. You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back,
or you can do what she’d want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

David Harkins, © 1981
Silloth, Cumbria, UK •••

Included by the Queen on the order of service for the Queen Mother’s funeral on Tuesday 9th April 2002, the poem ‘She Is Gone’ was credited to ‘Anon’. Her Majesty was said to have encountered the work at the funeral of the late" Dowager Viscountess De L’Isle, whose family had found the poem in a small anthology published in 1999. After the Queen Mother’s funeral much effort went into attempts to identify the author, with attributions going to, among others Immanuel Kant and Joyce Grenfell, before the author was discovered to be former baker David Harkins from Cumbria. David Harkins had written the piece in the early eighties, though not as a funeral oration, but in homage to an unrequited love.

David Harkins wrote to The Daily Mail on Tuesday January 14th 2003 as follows:- ‘I was 23 when I first met Anne LLoyd, my inspiration for the poem I called Remember Me.
She was 16 and didn’t know me, but had seen her about and knocked on her door one evening in November 1981. Anne answered, and I introduced myself as a painter (painting was a hobby of mine back then) and asked her to pose.
She agreed, and I returned on the Thursday evening, when I made feeble attempts to sketch Anne. This proved difficult as her mother was present throughout.
Anne posed for me about eight times, and we met regularly for a couple of years and talked a great deal, though we never even kissed, which is probably why I poured all my feelings about her into my poetry.
I completed Remember Me in about March 1982, but until last year none of my poems received any recognition. Pam, a one act play from 1987, was my last piece of work inspired by Anne.
Shortly afterwards I met Jayne, my wife, and I have not seen Anne since. My writing has dried up and I’m now a painter selling my works on the internet.’
David Harkins, Silloth, Cumbria. Further Foot Note:

News & Star 12/09/2002 I wrote the Queen Mum’s funeral poem By Chris Musson THE mystery author of a poem which was read out at the Queen Mother’s funeral can now be revealed as a Cumbrian man who wrote it more than 20 years earlier when he was a young bakery worker. The poem was recited at the royal funeral earlier this year and sparked a glut of media interest because of its simple, upbeat nature – and mystery author. The Queen had found the poem while leafing through old memorial service books and she chose it to be read at her mother’s funeral at Westminster Abbey in April, where it struck a chord with millions of mourners. Today the News & Star can reveal that Silloth man David Harkins wrote the poem in 1981 while working at Robertson’s bakery in Durranhill, Carlisle. Mr Harkins, 43, has since received a letter of thanks from the Prince of Wales. The discovery finally ends a nationwide media hunt for the poem’s author. Mr Harkins, who now works as an artist selling paintings over the Internet, said he “couldn’t believe his eyes” when he saw his poetry published in newspapers after the funeral. Shocked He had sent the original manuscript of the poem to Prince Charles, and St James’s Palace replied thanking Mr Harkins for explaining its origin. He said: “I wrote it in 1981. It was about a girl and I called it Remember Me. Since then, it’s been changed to suit different people and also altered slightly for funerals. "I was shocked. I only found out about it at the time of the Queen Mother’s funeral and I couldn’t believe it. My wife Jayne and I were reading the newspapers and there it was. "She said to me something like ‘that’s your poem!’. There were changes but they were just words – a word here and a word there. "So I sent the original copy to Prince Charles in May and got a lovely letter of reply.” The reply from Prince Charles’ then private secretary, Stephen Lamport, thanks Mr Harkins for providing the history of the “passage which captured the hearts of so many people when it was published as part of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral service”. At the time the poem was written, he was working at Robertson’s bakery, while living in Scalegate Road, Upperby. Mr Harkins said: “I laugh about it because death is not what it’s about. It wasn’t written for a funeral. I wrote it about a girl I lusted after but she couldn’t stand the sight of me. "It was nothing to do with anyone dying but at the same time, I am humbled by the fact that anyone should use it at a funeral, especially for the Queen Mother. "It was straight from the heart and when I think about it, I’m both proud and not proud. I have sent it to people and they always try to put it into poetry but it isn’t. It was just poetic prose.” It is thought Remember Me – one of many pieces Mr Harkins has sent to publishers and newspapers over the years – found its way onto the Internet and into memorial booklets like the one spotted by the Queen. After the funeral, the poem was subjected to the scrutiny of the national media, with some critics ridiculing its apparent lack of literary merit. The reply from the Prince of Wales’s office continued: “I have no doubt that it will be reproduced on many occasions over the years to come. The Prince of Wales has asked me to send you his very best wishes.” Chris Musson Reporter, The Cumberland News / News & Star An interesting link if you need more information on ‘She is Gone’ and the author http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ww2/A2174735