Look ye also while life lasts

“The wonder of the world
The beauty and the power,
The shapes of things,
Their colours, lights and shades,
These I saw.
Look ye also while life lasts.”

These lines are tucked away at the beginning of Benji Davies’ beautiful children’s book, The Storm Whale. At first I thought it might be a quotation from a crow’s nest reverie in Moby Dick. In actual fact, these wise words appear at the start of every book by another children’s author, Denys Watkins-Pitchford, or, to use his pseudonym, BB. BB’s father found it inscribed on a gravestone. Where that gravestone is, or whether it is still legible, who knows.

That puts me in mind of another gravestone inscription, a heavier memento mori my mother noticed in the churchyard at Zennor.

As you walk by pray cast an eye,
as you are now so once was I.
As I am now, ‘ere long you’ll be.
Therefore prepare to follow me.

So, forget this talk of ebooks. Weightier thoughts are etched in stone. Think on that, ye pantheists!

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