Do not be fooled
by the silence of elders
who have kept watch at
the bed-sides of others, passing.
The universe will not enfold you gently,
turning down the stars like a silky bedsheet
over your face.
There is instead slow strangulation,
The desperate heart shaking its cage.
And if not strangulation perhaps
the bowel backing up to the mouth,
Face slacken in paralysis and gibbering,
Or sharp searing pain like white hot nails
Or your chest will hammer and twist you
to the floor, gasping.
Your body's final malfunction
will have no grandeur.
It will arrive like a mad lab assistant
bringing animal terror as the hand
reaches for its fresh victim -
And you will beg.
Yes you will, you poor thing.
Beg, and plead and pray
To preserve the wonder of you.
Everything you have known and loved.
And somewhere an orderly will laugh, shortly,
The nurse tick a chart, or type, and
a doctor raise an eyebrow,
Finding you cold.
Bundled from the stage
Will you try some clumsy curtsy
Gasping, garbled words
As the uncaring world calls "next"
and someone else mops the floor.
And you find yourself on
A deserted street
In an empty city.
The unusual quiet of a sunny day
And the serious cheeriness of people,
Serenaded by birdsong
Makes an unexpected vantage point
To survey this long valley of
the place you called I.
There are your plans!
See them there, stretching out in the sun
green and fertile to the horizon.
Here, your towering justifications,
mighty reinforcing structures.
Beneath: your failures; and sinking lies.
Here are your wooded, wistful places,
Your golden triumphs (which seem so much
smaller from here), your tries
Which never quite turned out how
You envisaged them.
And these, these are your people
Picking at the spread
Wondering (now that you are dead)
How they never knew, or what they
Ought to do, now you aren't here
to influence them.
Was it an act?
Were those chances ever choices?
A script you followed blindly
Allowing for small improvisations
Here and there to bring a touch of colour.
A role you played
As only you could
As only you ever would.
An extra on History's stage.
A pawn in some larger game.
You never understood.
As you enter into the pages of memory
Do you really need redemption?
Did you infringe against the universe?
Your crimes and misdemeanors so very
different to any others, and in the end
Or was it only those you said you loved
Whose love, or needs or wants
You took so much for granted.
Who truly can absolve?
And now you can do nothing new,
does it matter now?
Your stains are made
Oh, Saul, you wicked taxman
I see your redactions.
Making a muppet of the mantle
worshipping the messenger not the Word.
It was you who made Easter omelettes,
And painted the empty shells from
the popularity of older religions.
Making sacrifice of love,
ritual of inspiration.
In love with the power
Today the world at Easter
is still and silent as a tomb.
The cities empty, the streets empty
the human race is waiting.
But it is not sacrifice this invokes.
It is the stillness of the Word.
Each moment hangs like fruit
rich and ripe and
just for us.
each collision of consequence and chance
Unique and unrepeatable.
Ignore it, or admire it
It's all you have.
Fill it with love
for it is your eternity.