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13

 

out over the Pacific Ocean, the sky so blue, the warm sun streaming down, thick, like you could touch it, as it is in winter in the tropics. Boats were sailing, but being this high up, they looked a bit silly going in tiny circles on that huge ocean panorama. Mudjimba Island was aligned with the foot of the coffin. Roy was at my side once again asking me to stand at the bottom of the coffin with the other performers. Robert was there, ready to read the eulogy. Lorraine and Patricia stood there with me. I looked up and was amazed to see about 50 people up on the hill.

 

Dozens of children were in attendance all bringing flowers and laying them on the earth dug out of the grave site. It was school holidays so all of the children could attend. If it had not been school holidays, many people would not have been able to come. I saw faces that I had not seen at "Avatars Abode" in 10 years. All eyes were red and puffy. I did not dare look up the hill again or how would I get through my song! Robert's eulogy was beautiful and strong. It set the mood well. We all recited the Master's Prayer. Then the telegrams were read. Rick Chapman's and the one from the Mandali stood out in my mind. Next I sang, "House In The Rain". I had chosen this song because it was the first song Francis had written for me. It was in a scene from the play, "Being is Dying By Loving". Suddenly I was singing. I heard my high voice ring through the trees and I was swept away in song. I remember trying to recall another verse and then realized that this was the last line that I was singing. I felt weary and strange at the end of the song. Soon I heard Lorraine's deep rich voice singing, "The Dawn Light Breaks". I opened my eyes — now could look at that sea of faces on the hill. All looked so serious and yet so at peace. I was fine until I would look at that brown hat and green scarf on the coffin and then, once again, a million memories would flood into my mind. Funny moments, profound moments, hard moments, all with my old friend Francis. Patricia read a beautiful ghazal — so much like Francis — Ghazal 1l7. Sam Saunders sang the best that I had ever heard him sing. The last line of the song, as it rang across the hills said, "a poet is a bit of singing dust". We all joined in on "The Blacksmith's Song". Peter Rowan then read the last Ghazal from "In Dust I Sing". It left me with the same feeling that I had at May Lundquist's funeral. More like I was at a wedding than at a funeral. We all sang "Arti", the "Arti" that Francis had tuned and worded so well for us. Then all went to the foot of the grave and threw in a handful of earth and a hibiscus flower. I threw the earth hard and kissed the flower whispering Goodbye and then shouted, "JAI BABA!" I wandered off down the hill towards Baba's House. My head was still buzzing with songs and stories and quotes and plays, as it had been these last 3 days. Along the path towards Baba's House, I was singing: "Being is dying by loving, this is the song which I the dawn am bringing, awake, arise for love's dear sake, awake and sing."


Sketch of Meher Baba by Ann Bosch

 

©1980 Ann Bosch

 

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