Monday, October 30, 2006

In Life, In Death, In Ecstasy

Tonight the trick or treaters have been running about in my city. Tomorrow is Halloween, then All Saints' and All Souls'. This complex of days leads one to think on life and death, which brought me back to a poem of a month ago.
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Monday, September 18, 2006, shortly after midnight. A couple of days ago Jonathan (of O Cuniculi... linked here) posted a brief article on how tradition has often compared sex and death. Something resonated in me. I knew a poem was struggling to emerge. I wrote a bit of an outline of what it might look like, and a working title. I sat in front of my screen, thinking, but not typing. Something wanted to come, but wouldn’t. I gave up and went to bed. Lying there, reading something altogether unrelated (actually, a Stephen King book), I was just about ready to shut off the light and go to sleep, when I just had to get up and write. I powered up, looked at my outline, and deleted it. All I had left was a title (which also became a line in the poem). Words just began to come, entirely unlike what I’d been trying to produce, and here it is, and I’m satisfied with it as it is, and I’m not at all sure I want to take credit for writing it . . .

In Life, In Death, In Ecstasy

The stopping of a heart,
the ceasing of a thought,
the cent’ring of existence on a change,
a death,
transition,
a darkening of the world around,
a bursting in of light that was unknown,
a birth into another world,
an ecstasy beyond what has been known,
the greater death has come,
and to the Christian greater life.

The pausing of two hearts,
the stilling of two sets of thoughts,
the concentration of the world upon an act,
like death,
like change,
a dimming of reality that lies upon them,
a bursting in of light that blinds them,
a birth that may begin within their life,
an ecstasy exploding with the light of life
the lesser death that lifts them out of life,
with life has burst into the world.

In life, in death, in ecstasy,
in birth, in death, in passions of the flesh,
in beauties known by eye and ear and soul,
in raising sound in voice and singing instrument,
in making music by the dance of words,
in sitting silent in the house of God,
in listening, hearing, seeing that which is not known,
to those whose hearts reach heavenward and thirst,
to those immersed within that living Blood,
to those the blessed lesser death has come,
and release, though brief, from this world’s bonds is known,
and foreshadowed here the Christian soul may taste
that blessed greater death that leads to greater life,
and know and feel and touch the shape,
the shape of eternity.
---
ed pacht

1 comment:

albion said...

Beautiful, Ed.