Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This for sure death

This for sure death that stalks,
right beside holding
my flesh and blood,
maybe a dream or not, hand.

As I live, watching that
wonderful not having, in my
living room, till the
tedium of two minutes sets in

and I with but a gentle,
deliberate or not, lifting finger,
alters the world forever or not
till I flip knowingly back,
with not even getting up.

And every day have this great
wonderful vibrant watch of a life
not lived in colour and so lifelike
or not and between flips, it too passes
with a gentle, deliberate lift of a finger,
altering the maybe world, or not, but

as always Death, in his boredom,
still holding my flesh and blood
maybe a dream, or not, hand,
checks his watch.


There is nothing quite so still …. as death.

His face is serene, composed, the embalmer's art barely noticeable, the skill impressive as his complexion, devoid of the warmth of blood coursing beneath the membrane of skin, looks (almost) natural.

There is nothing quite so agonizing .... as death.

Composed they enter, a church-like hush blanketing the blandness of the room with its neutral tones and colours bleeding soft and flesh coloured on walls festooned with faux knots and an approximation of taste. Quiet murmurings as people converse in hushed voices and stifle the inappropriate nervous laughs. Walking quietly to the front where (brother), (cousin), (nephew), (father), (husband) lies, the casket raised to reveal his clasped hands and still features, reality captures them with a vicious, searing pain as the bleak truth of his forever absence slices into the composed faces and voices bleed out their agony into the quiet of the room, wailing to a universe which watches, unmoved the cycle of life continuing ....

There is nothing quite so perplexing … as death.

His sister screams her agony loudly to sympathetic arms which clasp and ears which listen and voices which murmur their caring. Cita, however, wife, friend, caregiver in the waning twilight of a life ravaged by lung cancer, sits quietly, alone – composed and filled with a palpable grief that isolates her as effectively as steel walls. She watches with neutral eyes the posturing of a sibling who cries out at the unfairness of death stealing from her a younger brother.

There is nothing quite so isolating …as death.

For each of us must, when all is said and done, deal with our own grief, our own pain; the searing agony of loss, the incredulous inability to accept that the voice will never be heard, the tread on the stairs forever silent, that the dawning of morning brings with it the profound realization of absolute change.

People also deal with grief in the manner in which they feel most capable – from the wailing, public display of pain to the stoic, composed retention of agony as too intrinsically private to share. Grief, after all, and how it is processed, embraced, rejected and internalized is so intensely personal.

Watching, from the safety of my poignant regret for a good neighbour gone, I watch and wonder at the isolation of those closest to him. In their anguish, like restless, darting crows they fracture and wheel around the creeping miasma of the gravitational pull of individual grief,


and the morning creeps in with a grey and looming need, clouds weeping a fine mist, coating my upturned face with a slick tongue, soft and breathing time into the humid air of a funeral day.

I sit in my sterile cubicle and find an ironic poignancy in a clich├ęd day of death and wait for the ticking second hand to start forward to departure and the final goodbye. For time, science aside, is not finite nor quantifiable but elastic and arbitrary … stretching seconds into incalculable agonies of elongated now and encapsulating hours into a fleeting moment of “what if”.

1 comment:

Buffalo said...

Extremely poignant. Well done. Both of you.