Go Gently, old Friend


Go gently, old friend.

Leave only
sweet ashes, drifting
through minds that
sift away
the silt.

of confusion and pain
are the dust in our tears;
we rinse them away.
What remains is a
kind reminder
of the
of your life.

Gone is the child
who reached for hands to hold,
the child who hungered for a loving touch.
Gone are the fists that rained cold blows
on your bewildered sensibilities.
stealing away what might
have been.

you are free.

Go gently, and rest in peace.


©Jane Paterson Basil

61 thoughts on “Go Gently, old Friend

    1. Thank you. I’m sorry to hear about your friend. The man I wrote this poem for was more fortunate; his death surprised and shocked us. It is now evident that he was prepared, although he suffered some fear two or three hours before he died. After that he was unconscious I hope your friend is able to pass on without fear.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I have a friend who used to be an atheist with a deep dislike for religion. We discuss questions of faith, but never speak of our own beliefs, so I don’t know if she is still atheist, but she is now a carer who often works with the elderly. She’s says that she wishes more of them had faith in a loving God, since it would give them comfort. Without that, we tend to cling to life – whatever our suffering, and can find no consolation.
          I hope your friend finds peace and consolation before she leaves this life.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. So do I, thanks. I have sat at many death beds in my time, and it is hard not to believe in something when you experience this part of the life cycle. I am miles away from my friend unfortunately, or I would be with her.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m feeling… complicated. The funeral helped me to see the wider picture – which is good, since a skeleton is rattling in the family cupboard, and my thoughts will help me to deal it with it wisely and with compassion xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I take that as a massive compliment. I like the form and words of Dylan Thomas’s poem, but I don’t agree with him. I was with my friend when he died; in the last few minutes he settled into a place of inner peace. I was glad, since he’d had little of that in his life.


  1. I agree we’re more able to go gently when some kind of faith is present. My mother worked for hospice for a while and there is a difference. Either way, sweet words sweet Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Not harsh at all but certainly complex; such is life and death. It’s been just a year since I lost my grandmother and while I wouldn’t describe it as being sad it did send me back to therapy 😉 Take care Jane.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a touching poem Jane. Such lovely sentiments, you glad his worries aare over, that he can be in peace now.
    Fear and pain are the worst things. We all have to die, but to die in fear is so awful. None of us want to go, but if we can go with acceptance … I’m hoping to hang around for a few more decades yet but when it comes to it, despite a lack of faith, I hope I can accept the natural cycle of it all. It’s okay not to be here anymore – the world turns without us.

    Liked by 1 person

            1. I’m spending this afternoon and evening with my friend Elaine. We usually spend every Sunday together, but things have been so crazy since Mike died – over two months ago – that I haven’t seen much of her.

              Liked by 1 person

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