Tuesday 10 February 2015

Albert Gibson's love poem to Betty Gibson, my friend and great pro-life figure

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Albert Gibson in Belfast - with whom I'm pictured (right). Albert is the patriarch of the Gibson family, a family which has provided truly great pro-life leadership in Northern Ireland for 35 years.

At 93, Albert is full of life. He gets the bus into town every day to go to Mass. He meets Gerard, his eldest son every week in town to play chess. Albert has won awards for his poetry and he has plans to publish his latest work Requiem sans Musique in the near future.

Above all he lives for love - love of his family and love of Betty, who died on 4th August 2009, for whom he goes to Mass to pray daily. May she rest in peace.

As well as making and serving the dinners in the local primary school, Betty raised her family and led the pro-life battle in Northern Ireland for 30 years. She was one of the most well-informed pro-lifers I've ever met and politicians of all parties and faiths in Northern Ireland held her in the highest respect. My personal friendship with Betty and her family has been a joy and anchor for me for over three decades.

Albert's Requiem without Music begins with some verses which speak of the love they shared. He has
kindly given me permission to reproduce these verses, entitled "Lovely Days":
Lovely are my gentle hills
in the sun of summer bathing.
Across the sky fleeced and white,
Heaven's sheep are grazing.
And I, and I with no regrets
feel young in Love and happy.
Gentle are my lovely hills,
precious autumn falling,
rich and golden from on high
on this land so blessed.
And I, and I more grateful yet
for Love is poured out on me.
Shrouded now my silent hills
in mists and rains that curtain
and slowly trail 'mid quiet trees
in streams, Joys not forgotten.
And I, and I can speak of Love,
the fountain, pure, eternal.
Green, green my Antrim hills,
alive, awake, a'stirring
with strong new growth
and birds in Love
with the world renewing.
And I, and I, sweet reverie
those lovely days recalling,
regretting none, relive each one
my life of Joy with Betty.
That my eyes should see
on Belfast Lough,
'neath a sky bruised red and bleeding
as the dying sun leaves us both alone,
the lough's last horizon
And you, and I, our arms entwined
shall stroll to Love's Beginning.

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