Thursday, December 16, 2010

Becoming Dead

(Benito Agrela, 15, of Miami, Florida gave up on life, feeling so sick
of the anti-rejection drug he had to take for a transplanted liver.
At his last he hugged his mother, smiled and died.)

'Twas past midnight, lying in bed
but sleepless I chanced to read
of your wondrous becoming dead.

I mean no insult, Ben but awe
which bids me praise your gesture so
sacramental, with grace to bestow.

One cannot simply say: c'est la vie.
'Twas not that so to me.
There's heart in that dark mystery.

Yeah, we do, are going to, will expire.
Brief time's passing may just require
sour, lame, languid spirits at the bier.

We may be mere vessels of mortal clay
that form and grow and then decay:
ashes to ashes is nature's way.

Yet, Ben. You must now know:
something in, of us survives to show
that which your gesture was--

the way to go.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This morning after

This morning after
a deep dreamless sleep
brings no sunlight east


behind the raincloud scrim
its warm face glows

as in mine, dearheart,
you do

Thursday, December 2, 2010


'The mind has mountains,
cliffs of fall,
sheer no-man-fathomed...'
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Some lives are ended, others just end.
Some deaths make sense; others stun reason
and make minds bend.

Death's a dark gate somewhere unseen
which springs shocking surprise when sudden
but which, when bidden,
delivers definite deletion.

Of the latter the sense lies
in the mercy sought or
in the justice demanded:
a plea for rescue from unacceptable pain
or a rage to remove intolerable evil.

It's when death's gate opens unbidden
when one is caught in the clutch of chance
('accident') that death offends,
morphing from mercy to menace.

In such a death the mind gropes
for meaning, flings grappling hooks
up sheer cliffs one is desperate
to climb up out of.

Deep down its crater
the heart calls out but
no answers come,
only echoes of the cry.

Bereft, what is one to do?
Speak out now, let loose rage
lest it churns currents in caverns
inside the self? before sorrow floods
the basin and burst its chambers?

Or just sit still and be,
aware and wakeful, holding steady,
girded and all for this
dark night's journey of the soul?

Will the time come for answers
to fill the void and bring to heart
love's peace and to mind
its calming balm?

Isn't there a nagging doubt
that all this is but wishful thought,
casting about, seeking anchors afloat
after a loved one's life, sorry to say,
comes to naught?

A senseless death stirs these questions.
The heart is hurt, the mind muddled:
A beloved presence is gone;
a life's work's undone.

One strives to bury griefs;
remembrance is a pledge.
That one will understand and accept
who is to tell, who the sage?

Old prophet Job, you were buffeted too.
What say you of this damn, dumb