Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted

"When Earth's last Picture Is Painted," is one of my absolute favorite poems. I discovered it in college when I was reading an article in "Smithsonian Magazine" about Kipling while sitting in the Dentist’s office. It was so beautiful it made me cry. A few years later I was asked to read the poem as part of a shared eulogy at my friends father’s funeral. Turns out, it had been one of his favorites as well.

I lost a loved one this week, the funeral’s today and thought this would be a nice way to honor her.

R.I.P Aunt Betty, give Tommy, Lexie, Debbie, & Dadd
y each a big hug & kiss from me.

This amazing photo is courtesy of the Hubble Telescope. It's a cloud nebula and not only reminds me of this poem, but a Maxfield Parrish painting come to life and what heaven must look like, all rolled into one.

By Rudyard Kipling 1892

When Earth's last picture is painted

And the tubes are twisted and dried When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an eon or two

'Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew
And those that were good shall be happy
They'll sit in a golden chair
They'll splash at a ten-league canvas
With brushes of comet's hair
They'll find real saints to draw from
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They'll work for an age at a sitting And never be tired at all.

And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the Master shall blame. And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.

But each for the joy of the working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.

For the God of things as they are!


Karen said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, Kelly. My thoughts are with you and your family.

tmana said...

Also a Kipling poetry fan, but most of his work I find incredibly cynical (think "Female of the Species", "The White Man's Burden", etc.)... I suspect, though, that presuming the secular Christian concept of an afterlife, those who are allotted into "heaven" will find themselves asking the Deity to send them on more, and more complex, tasks on His behalf.

May He Who consoles the mourners in Zion console you and your family for your loss.

Kassie said...

a lovely poem, image, and sentiment. I'm sorry for your loss.

Scott K. Johnson said...

That is beautiful.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family K2.

Crystal said...

Deepest sympathies to you and your family Kelly.
Sending you a virtual hug.

And that I was moved to tears.

Thank you for sharing such emotion on a difficult day.

Thinking of and praying for you & the family.

Lee Ann Thill said...

I'm so sorry about your aunt, Kelly. Thank you for sharing the poem. My thoughts are with you and your family.

k2 said...

Thanks so much, I really appreciate it!
I feel in love with the poem first and foremost, it really represents heaven to me. Thanks for stopping by.

Glad you liked the poem and the pic.
Thanks for your kind words.

Scottie J
Glad you liked the poem and thanks for the kind sentiments!

Appreciate your kind words and sentiments, glad you liked the poem!

Thanks friend!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words.