Stan Mayes (Part 7 of 7)
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Seamen who have passed away are often said to have 'Crossed the bar'. This expression comes from a famous poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. He wrote 'Crossing the Bar' in 1889, three years before he died, and asked that it should appear as the final poem in all collections of his work. Tennyson uses the metaphor of a sandbar - a ridge of sand built up between the sea and the shore - to represent the barrier between life and death. The poem is often used in funeral services and I offer it here in memory of Stan.
Crossing the Bar
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 and 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 though 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.
Stan 'crossed the bar' on 21 August 2014 at the age of 93 after a long fight with lung cancer which he faced with the stoical determination that prevailed throughout his life. With great sadness, I joined family and friends in attending his funeral in Gravesend which took place in a packed church beneath the standards of the Gravesend branch of the Merchant Navy Association of which Stan was one of the six founder members.
If anyone epitomised the old saying "They broke the mould after they made him", it was Stan.
Goodbye Stan my friend - you were a gentleman and will be greatly missed by many.