If I be the first of Us

If I be the first of us to die,

Let grief not blacken long your sky.

Be bold yet modest in your grieving.

There is a change but not a leaving.

And just as death is part of life,

The dead live on for ever in the living.

And all the gathered riches of our journey,

The moments shared, the mysteries explored,

The steady layering of intimacy stored,

The things that made us laugh or weep or sing,

The joy of sunlit snow or first unfurling of the spring,

The wordless language of look and touch,

The knowing,

Each giving and each taking,

These are not flowers that fade,

Nor trees that fall and crumble,

Nor are we stone

For even stone cannot the wind and rain withstand

And mighty mountain peaks

In time reduce to sand.

What we were, we are.

What we had, we have.

A conjoined past imperishably present.

So when you walk the woods

Where once we walked together

And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you

For my shadow,

Or pause where we always did upon the hill

To gaze across the land,

And spotting something,

Reach by habit for my hand,

And finding none, feel sorrow start to steal upon you,

Be still.

Close your eyes.


Listen for my footfall in your heart.

I am not gone but merely walk within you.

Nicholas Evans

28 thoughts on “If I be the first of Us

  1. This got me more than so many other phrases: “Where once we walked together

    And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you”

    I’d hoped to see your name at the end, wondering if poetry was another of your ways of writing. It’s such an important message even when the aching heart can’t believe it yet.


  2. Oh Elaine is this what I think it is , the poem has so much feeling , something to read and treasure, and look back on past happy times. With much love xxxx


  3. Elaine there are no words to help, only memories of your shared life and experiences to treasure ‘a conjoined past imperishably present’ – sending love dearest friend xxx


  4. My heart breaks for you and for the (too) many of us who have lost horses in these recent days. Ours passed five days ago, he was only thirteen, not that age matters, but there are times when it seems crueler than other times, perhaps when a life has been fully lived…oh I don’t know, I don’t know anything, I just know my heart is heavy and my step is slow.


  5. Such a grand horse. I felt like I knew him through your words. You did him proud, Elaine. Sending love, and know that you are in my thoughts.


  6. Your grief is palpable , dear friend. Thru your words Bruce walks in many hearts and always leaves a wee smile in his wake. Such beauty the two of you together.


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