06 August 2014

Dear Death

Statue from the Cathedral of Trier, Germany

Death, as you stand by and collect bodies,
which ones require music to sooth heartbreak:
slow slow extermination in camps and
slavery, soul first and bones to follow,
cancers that eat away humanity—
or instantaneous bombardment of
full cities, Hiroshima and Naga-
sacki?  The beginning or end of World
War Two?  Beginnings or endings?

I’d like it fast, please, a fast solo flight—
no crowd scenes, no families, no surprise
attacks, no plagues, locusts and no more war.
If I believed in resurrection of
the fittest—if I were so Christian—or
if I believed in Heaven, I might feel
otherwise.  But I experience God
and spirit, mind, carnality and all
in this incarnation.  Will there be more?

Death, if no music, do bird song and bells
reach you?  Treetops and domesticated
animals?  Wilderness?  Do you eavesdrop
on prayers?  On Love?  On conspiracies?
Are you part of God or of the Devil?
Yes, I know.  You came to life with mortals
and offer us much good—I should close my
mouth and swallow feeling in the face of
your excess as with earthquakes and madness.

I experience humanity in 
the grip of madness, a backdrop to the
daily deeds of human kindness that sate
waking hours and that consciousness insists
on spreading.  Touch and words and love cushion 
pain, I praynot enough to prevent pro-
action and protest, but enough to praise
life as a constant goodone that Death plays
foil to.  Dear Death, you make your point too well.

Posted for my prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Hiroshima, or Ring a Bell

a work in progress

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast 


Anjum Wasim Dar said...

Great work Susan -another classic poem. Ref to John Donne's poem creates the right thematic effect.Your poem reflects Life as it is 'taken over' by Death. I will link my poem 'Why Death is Black and Burning' Hope you will express your views on it.Inspired again.Thank you so much.

Jae Rose said...

But do we really know death until we have met him/her? The way in which people die so terribly in war is by the hands of humans...maybe we should fear the living more...but absolutely...quick..dignified..peaceful...when the time comes and all

Sumana Roy said...

for the believers death is the gateway to another life, another possibility...don't know much about that but can't we all hope for a decent death...the warmongers have other ideas...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is one of my favorites of yours, Susan. You discuss the big questions, with love and hope.....I especially note "soul first, and bones to follow"....your third and fourth stanzas are especially powerful. Just loved this. It is a wowzer!

Arathi Harihar said...

true susan your questions are so powerful..beautiful

alan1704 said...

The is a fatal feeling in your words that really carries the emotion of the poem, I like this and the questions it raises.

Arushi Ahuja said...

This is a rather Death daring poem!! you have challenged death so bravely!! she would cower at your words... i dont think death is a devil its humans who turn into devils and make death look bad even though she is just releasing us from pain!! maybe however she does listens to our prayers!! beautiful Susan!! Bravo!

Unknown said...

We need to stand against Death...to ask these questions.... very profound and powerful ! Great Susan... !

Magaly Guerrero said...

"I believed in resurrection of
the fittest..."

This entire poem is a collection of treasures, but the words above sparkled so bright in my heart. For deep inside, I believe the fittest are the kindest, the most giving, the ones who look and see and extend a hand.

I, too, wonder if Death eavesdrops in prayers. And if she listens...

Unknown said...

Susan you shake your finger at death, you whisper an appeal.
Your poem is like an exhalation demanding answers.

Nicholas said...

Oh the mystery that is death. You've expressed it so well with the references to Hiroshima and Nagasacki. God keep all those who died and God bless all those who continuously remember, recall, and relive that day.

Judith C Evans said...

Your poem asks the questions that many of us have. The last line -- "Death, you make your point too well" -- is so true. Love this take on the prompt!

Unknown said...

I like how calmly you talk about death. It felt so normal, like being around death is normal. And still you managed to give me goose bumps. I loved the 3rd stanza. I loved the subtle power in your words!

Kathryn Dyche said...

Love all the questions posed in this piece.

Myrna R. said...

This is beautiful Susan. It's good to talk to death because it lacks uncertainty. It will come one way or other, at least to these physical bones. But I like your appeal to it, your questions. Hopefully, life lives on somehow. Maybe somewhere death has no power.

Gen Giggles said...

So moving. I got misty.

Preeti S. said...

Brilliant poem with a very powerful and effective ending. Loved the vivid imagery.

Karen said...

The depth of this...the brave voice...the idea of death as singular even when it is mass...this entire piece gives me another perspective on life's great mystery. I love this!