The Japanese maple is one of my favourite trees. Clive James could not have known the impact of his poem (17 September) for me. I am a Methodist chaplain in a large hospital. On Wednesday I was at the bedside of a lovely woman who had suffered a deep bereavement, then, a few minutes later, I was praying with someone who was close to death. So I arrived home emotionally very tired. Reading his poem over a much-needed cuppa grounded me solidly on this Earth again, while reminding me of the gap between all things spiritual and Earthly sweet beauty as when fine rain falls, On that small tree. Thank you so much, Clive, for being my Earthly pastor. And may you be richly blessed in the knowledge you have brought much joy and laughter to me and my husband on many occasions.
Thanks to Henning Mankell for sharing his thoughts on having incurable cancer (There are days full of darkness, G2, 17 September.) His observation, One day we shall die. But all the other days we shall be alive speaks to everyone, sick and healthy alike. And thanks to Clive James for the poetry he continues so bravely to write. So much sweet beauty puts into just four words how lovely the world becomes as we leave it.