Crossing the Bar
Crossing the Bar is a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892). It uses metaphor and poetic imagery to describe death and compares the crossing over from this life into the next to the passage of a ship from the shore to the outer harbour, when it crosses the bar.
Literally "crossing the bar" desribes a boat passing a sand bank (bar) at the harbour mouth into the wider ocean. This phrase is rich in symbolism: the bar is the barrier between the life and death, and the pasage of the boat from the harbour to the sea symbolizes the union of the soul with the eternal greatness of God. In the poem the "pilot" of the boat is God, guiding the soul of the departed past the dangers of the sand bank. The poem has a beautiful peaceful quality to it. You can listen to a spoen audio version of Crossing the Bar by clicking here.
As the video below illustrates Crossing the Bar in a real boat can be very difficult.
Oration at a Child’s Grave by Col. R.G. Ingersoll: eulogy for a child
SUNSET and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound or foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell;
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
||Abide With Me|
||Death Be Not Proud|
||Crossing the Bar|
||Death is Nothing At All|
||Eulogy for a Child|