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A Poem by Thomas Lynch: ‘Father Andrews’


Thomas Lynch has written six poetry collections, 5 books of essays, and one quantity of quick tales; in 1997, he was a finalist for the Nationwide E book Award. Writing isn’t even Lynch’s day job. Since 1974, he’s been a funeral director within the city of Milford, Michigan. The lifetime of an undertaker may appear radically completely different from that of a author, however there are some significant similarities: Each jobs require a sensitivity to emotional ache, a way of obligation to take care of grief, and a deft means with phrases. In a 2013 interview, Lynch defined: “When a loss of life happens, persons are searching for a language to explain what occurred. We try to deal with by way of language issues which are unspeakable, issues we don’t have a prepared vocabulary for.”

This capacity to stroll folks by way of unspeakable loss drew Lynch to enterprise. His father was a funeral director, and Lynch grew up witnessing how necessary even the smallest kindnesses have been to folks in mourning. It was gratifying, “simply taking coats and shifting flowers and serving to folks by way of the maze of a funeral house, when on the finish of the night, the widower or widow or surviving little one takes you by the shoulders and says, ‘I couldn’t have finished this with out you,’” he stated in the identical interview. “All I needed to do was present up and do my half. It wasn’t mind surgical procedure. It was merely humanity.”

“Father Andrews” is an ode to a different sort of quiet however steadfast presence—a priest. Loss of life occurs, Lynch notes, no matter what we mortals do. Father Andrews is aware of, too, that “we have now our little say after which are silent.” However all the identical, he continues to point out up. He meets the mourners, and even figuring out that he doesn’t have all of the solutions, he tries to determine issues out with them. There’s a particular sort of holiness, Lynch suggests, to these individuals who understand how a lot on the earth they can not change, however carry out their function dutifully, hoping it could relieve somebody. It’s merely humanity.


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