An Uplifting Note
Small things matter. When we look back on the time that has somehow vanished all too quickly in our short lives – no matter what its span - it is often the smallest things that bring a tear to the eye. Such is life.
Today I witnessed and partook in a small gesture which was both beautiful and meaningful. It seems that I have been too much in graveyards of late. I was returning from John Devitt’s funeral Mass in Seabury Church Malahide after having spoken to both his sons and his dear wife when I decided that I’d go into Balgriffin cemetery where Seán Nolan is buried. Having prayed or meditated at Seán’s grave and taken some photographs I returned to my car pensive but relaxed. Then I saw two 5th year students from our school St Joseph’s arriving at the graveyard with two bags. I greeted them and they asked me where Seán’s grave was. I led them there and they took out a bunch of flowers in the school colours – blue and gold – placed them neatly on the grave and watered some of the less wilted flowers and bouquets from a plastic container they had brought with them.
Small gesture, but beautiful and meaningful. It’s at times of crisis like these that the best in the human spirit comes out. Then the boys told me that they had visited another grave – that of Scott Kelly, 17, who had died in the last few days – in Fingal graveyard just across the road from this one. We then decided we would go and visit Scott’s grave. Scott was only with us from September to Christmas 2005 of the Transition Year, so his death did not impact that much on the school community. His death was also tragic, but drug-related. Resquiescat in Pace, Scott! What a blitz – three youngsters dead within the space of six weeks, Stephen Dowdall (15), Seán Nolan (18) and Scott Kelly (17). God rest you all, lads.
It’s at time like these that I like to escape to my own personal haven, that is, poetry. This is the one thing I had in common with the late great John Devitt – an insatiable love for poetry. Here’s a short poem by the great Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called Heaven-Haven.
I HAVE desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.
And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea.
The picture I have placed at the top of this post is one I took of Scott Kelly (1990-2007) sometime before Christmas 2005. This was during our cookery classes in the old East Wall Community Centre on St Mary's Road. Rest In Peace, Scott!