Treasure Island

Diana van den Berg

(4 November 1945 / Durban, South Africa)

It's The Weekends That Are For Crying


I sat with you, my beloved horse,
when you breathed your last
when others who loved you
did all the organising
and asked if it was all, all right with me
and I was sitting with you
when they found a perfect spot
for your final resting place
and you and I
we slept a moment
and talked and cried
from either side
The Great Divide.

I was with you
when they loaded you
with love and pain
on to the horse box
and you and I
we talked and cried
from either side
The Great Divide.

I lay next to you
all the way your brother drove us
to your final resting place
and you and I
we slept a moment
and talked and cried
from either side
The Great Divide.

I lay next to you when they dug your grave
with care and precision
and you and I
we slept a moment
and talked and cried
from either side
The Great Divide.

I was with you
when they put you
in your grave
and arranged your body
and I screamed
in agony and cried
from this side of
The Great Divide
and then I threw
into your grave
my two near-red flowers
and my blood-red heart
and my soul
and spirit
and tears
for you
beyond
The Great Divide.

And when they covered
you with Earth
I lost my mind
and screamed
for you
beyond
The Great Divide.

And people talked
and did things
and walked
and you and I
we talked and cried
from either side
The Great Divide.

And that night
and every other since then
I held your blanket
in my arms
my face deep in it
breathing
your sweet horsy self
and slept deeply
reaching across
into
The Great Divide
and didn’t understand
why I had so few tears
this first week
without you
beyond
The Great Divide …

and then I woke this
first Saturday without you
and the tears fell out
in water buckets
and you and I
we talked and cried
from either side
The Great Divide.

And only then
did I understand that
God and you
on the other side of
The Great Divide,
were holding me up
and giving me strength
because you both knew
I couldn’t do it alone
and you both helped me through
this first week back teaching
at a school I didn’t know.

And the other thing I learnt today
from God and you
on the other side of
The Great Divide
is that
it is the weekends that are for me to be myself with you
and it is the weekends that are for crying
when you and I
can talk and cry
from either side
The Great Divide.

My darling, darling, darling horse,
I’ll do my best
to live my life
to be worthy
of joining you again
on your side of
The Great Divide.

But for now
God and you
and your blanket in my arms at night
will walk me through
what happens around me
and I’ll hold my breath
until the weekends
when you and I
can sleep a moment
and talk and cry
from either side
The Great Divide
for it’s the weekends that are for crying.

(4 May 2002)

Submitted: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

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Comments about this poem (It's The Weekends That Are For Crying by Diana van den Berg )

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  • Alf Hutchison (6/6/2009 6:36:00 AM)

    Diana, if only the world had your deep love and compassion for animals and mankind what a beautiful world it would be... A truly heart wrenching write. Regards Alf (Report) Reply

  • Bob Blackwell (4/14/2009 4:23:00 AM)

    Diana, I shed a tear for you, our animals are our truest friends, they never question. I had a lovely cat called Tippy Too, she was so full of fun, I held her after a car accident and felt the life leave her as she left this world. But Tippy Too will always remain part of my heart. A really lovely memory of your loss. (Report) Reply

  • Alison Cassidy (4/5/2009 3:04:00 AM)

    A beautiful elegy to a much loved companion whose presence remains despite a grave and a fond farewell. This poem is honest and unambiguous. The chorus:
    'and you and I
    we talked and cried
    from either side
    The Great Divide.' reinforces the closeness of your bond. For those who have not been touched by the love of an animal, your poetic reaction may seem 'over the top'. For those of us whose animal friends matter deeply, this poem brings tears. Requiescat in Pace. Love, Allie ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (Report) Reply

  • Sue S. (2/22/2009 1:13:00 PM)

    This poem shows the special essence in you that so many people lack - the ability to connect in a spiritual sense with all God's creatures. Hearts always come home. It sometimes feels that you can't be reunited quick enough - but it will come. (Report) Reply

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