Abide with me – #dVerse Quadrille

Most heartbreaking lines of a song ever written?

Tis you, tis you must go/and I must bide
Lament of the bereaved:

We long to cross over,
Instead we cry:

Help of the helpless, oh, abide

with me-bideth these 3
Faith, hope, and never-ending


© Experimentsinfiction 2020, All Rights Reserved

Written for dVerse Quadrille, hosted by Lisa tonight, who asks us to write a 44-word poem featuring the word ‘abide.’

‘Abide’ is a very powerful word to me, immediately conjuring up lines from songs, hymns and the Bible. So I wove 3 of these references as best I could (and it wasn’t easy) into a 44-word poem through which I tried to touch upon my own experience of bereavement.


Tis you, tis you must go/and I must bide is from the song ‘Danny Boy.’ Here’s the recording of Frank Patterson singing it, as heard in the movie ‘Miller’s Crossing:’

Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me is from the well-known Christian hymn ‘Abide with me,’ which is often sung at funerals.

The closing lines allude to the famous Bible quote from 1 Corinthians, 13:

‘And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.’ – King James Version
‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ – New International Version

Overall I prefer the King James Version (and the use of ‘abideth’), but I had to bring in the New International Version where Ancient Greek ἀγάπη has been translated as ‘love.’ The Ancient Greeks had more than one term for love, and ἀγάπη referred to the ‘highest’ unconditional, charitable kind.

On bereavement

This time of year is a time of remembrance for me, as in this season I lost my mother (1990), my grandmother (2014) and sister (2015). I like to light candles in remembrance and the featured image is a photo I took on a visit to Montserrat on New Year’s Eve 2017.

74 thoughts on “Abide with me – #dVerse Quadrille

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  1. this is even more heart-wrenching after following the link to the loss of your mother who did not abide long enough for her daughter. No wonder you find comfort in the hymnal and the scriptures.
    “Tis you, tis you must go/and I must bide
    Lament of the bereaved:”

  2. I think we were thinking on similar lines, Ingrid, and your quadrille certainly brought me to tears. My mother was taken into hospital with pneumonia at Christmas and we lost her on 9th January 2017. Like you, when I see or hear the word ‘abide’ I think of songs, hymns and the Bible.

    1. This prompt is making me quite emotional, which just illustrates the true power of words. I think it’s especially hard to lose a loved one close to Christmas. At least you have the memory of that cherished pink smile.

      1. Thank you, Ingrid. She always loved pink lipstick. It was a shock when she stopped because she couldn’t hold it in her fingers.

  3. This is sad and beautiful. I am not a religious person, but I love the lighting of candles in memory. The photo is gorgeous. Yes, heartbreaking lines–but somehow, all this is comforting. The rituals of grief and the reminders.

  4. I like how you were able to weave the lines of the hymns into your very personal quadrille. The one from Danny Boy tears me up every time I read and hear it. My condolences for the losses of your loved ones. Glad you find comfort in the hymns, Ingrid.

  5. The abide of hymns is close to me as well, and takes me back to the little church of my childhood. It speaks of reassurance.

  6. Very effective, affecting work, Ingrid. Several other poems dealing with absent / dead parents. Hmmm.
    Yours, ending in “Love” is outstanding. Thanks.

  7. I too am thinking of a lost connection today. After I read your poem I said to myself “and the greatest of these is love”–that’s the way I remember the verse, and remains part of my psyche. (K)

    1. I hope you got my comment, Kerfe – my comments seem to be disappearing into the ether today! I was deeply moved by your quadrille also.

  8. Lovely and moving piece of writing Ingrid – ‘abide’ is such a wonderful word for this – both the yearning to be with and the inevitable separation from our loved ones. I hope you find comfort at this difficult time.

  9. Our loved ones live on in our memories of them. Beautiful poem, Ingrid. You have skillfully blended familiar words from three sources into a comforting whole. As you remember those you have lost, may your most joyous and precious memories come to mind. <3

  10. This use of “abide” is my favorite, especially with “abide with me.” It was this week, nearly thirty years ago, that I lost my father. It was not the most cheerful Christmas, but I was certainly thankful for the presence of family.

      1. Thank you, Ingrid. There are enough pleasant memories – time’s gift – to take the edge off of what was a hard time for a couple of years. I think I’d find it particularly difficult to have lost three in this season.
        Your line…
        “Faith, hope, and never-ending / Love”
        …shows a lot of strength

      2. Yes it’s just coming up on the anniversary of my sister’s death and I haven’t really come to terms with that yet. Writing helps.

  11. I was grieving this week for a close friend who has died, and this spoke deeply into that grief, a timely piece for me and beautifully written. As a user of Greek I loved your comments too Ingrid.

    1. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. If my words helped at all then I am glad. I’m sure you know Greek better than me as I haven’t really used it for 15 years!

  12. Very nice take on the prompt! You developed the song beautifully!

    Just a side note: Today I went back into my spam comments and found three or four of your comments there! I am not sure why. Just wanted you to know I appreciate all of your comments even if I am not able to reply!

  13. Ingrid, you and me both find ourselves in a season of mournin/remembering – my grandmother and my husband on December 21, five years apart.
    This was a beautiful poem, Ingrid.

      1. That must be the toughest. It will be 5 years since we lost my sister tomorrow. I’m still in denial about that one I think.

      2. It was not easy. Now, I’m good. My husband, however. Bloody hell. I missed him more than ever this year (thank you, Corona) – it will be six years on the 21st. Sending you hugs, Ingrid.

  14. This must be a difficult time of the year for you. I wish you peace during the holidays. I have lit candles for the souls that gone before me. It brings a sense of comfort. The photo brings hope in the form of light.

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