Nothing is lost,
nothing is created,
everything is transformed.
A baby pigeon on the edge of the nest
hears the call and begins his flight.
How can the soul of the seeker not fly
when a message arrives saying,
"You have been trapped in life like a bird with no wings,
in a cage with no doors or windows
come, come back to me!"
How can the soul not rip open its coverings,
and soar to the sky?
What is the rope that pulls the soul from above?
What is the secret that opens the door?
The key is the flutter of the heart's wings
and its endless longing.
When the door opens, walk on the path
where abundance awaits you,
where everything old becomes new
and never look back.
Drink from the hands of the wine bearer
and you will be blessed
even in this life.
Translation by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
Horseback on Sunday morning,harvest over, we taste persimmonand wild grape, sharp sweetof summer’s end. In time’s mazeover the fall fields, we name namesthat went west from here, namesthat rest on graves. We opena persimmon seed to find the treethat stands in promise,pale, in the seed’s marrow.Geese appear high over us,pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,as in love or sleep, holdsthem to their way, clear,in the ancient faith: what we needis here. And we pray, notfor new earth or heaven, but to bequiet in heart, and in eyeclear. What we need is here.–Wendell Berry
Please allow me to wipe the slate clean.
Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.
Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.
–Gabriel Garcia Márquez
It is night with glaring sunshine. I stand in the woods and look towards my house with its misty blue walls. As though I were recently dead and saw the house from a new angle.
It has stood for more than eighty summers. Its timber has been impregnated, four times with joy and three times with sorrow. When someone who has lived in the house dies it is repainted. The dead person paints it himself, without a brush, from the inside.On the other side is open terrain. Formerly a garden, now wilderness. A still surf of weed, pagodas of weed, an unfurling body of text, Upanishads of weed, a Viking fleet of weed, dragon heads, lances, an empire of weed.Above the overgrown garden flutters the shadow of a boomerang, thrown again and again. It is related to someone who lived in the house long before my time. Almost a child. An impulse issues from him, a thought, a thought of will: “create. . .draw. ..” In order to escape his destiny in time.The house resembles a child’s drawing. A deputizing childishness which grew forth because someone prematurely renounced the charge of being a child. Open the doors, enter! Inside unrest dwells in the ceiling and peace in the walls. Above the bed there hangs an amateur painting representing a ship with seventeen sails, rough sea and a wind which the gilded frame cannot subdue.It is always so early in here, it is before the crossroads, before the irrevocable choices. I am grateful for this life! And yet I miss the alternatives. All sketches wish to be real.A motor far out on the water extends the horizon of the summer night. Both joy and sorrow swell in the magnifying glass of the dew. We do not actually know it, but we sense it: our life has a sister vessel which plies an entirely different route. While the sun burns behind the islands.
Göran Malmqvist translation
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall; I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba, business in the Balkans, many calls to
make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself: I will not give him a leg up.
Though he flick my shoulders with his whip, I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his pay-roll.
I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much, I will not map him the route to any man's door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living, that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with me; never through me
Shall you be overcome.
–Edna St. Vincent Millay
Walking is likeimagination, asingle stepdissolves the circleinto motion; the eye hereand there restson a leaf,gap, or ledge,everything flowingexcept wheresight touches seen:stop, though, andreality snaps backin, locked hard,forms sharplythemselves, bushbank,dentree, phoneline,definite, fixed,the self, too, thencaught real, cloudsand wind meltinginto their directions,breaking around andover, down and out,motions profound,alive, musical!Perhaps the death mother like the birth motherdoes not desert us but comes to tendand produce us, to make room for usand bear us tenderly, considerately,through the gates, to see us through,to ease our pains, quell our cries,to hover over and nestle us, to deliverus into the greatest, most enduringpeace, all the way past the bother ofrecollection,beyond the finework of frailty,the mishmash house of the coming and going,creation's fringes,the eddies and curlicues.
–A. R. Ammons
i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness
around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains
i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing
winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)
–E. E. Cummings
Complete Poems 1904-1962
All morning with dry instruments
The field repeats the sound
And in the wall
The dead increase their invisible honey
It is August
The flocks are beginning to form
I will take with me the emptiness of my hands
What you do not have you find everywhere
–W. S. Merwin
In the steamer is the troutseasoned with slivers of ginger,two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil.
We shall eat it with rice for lunch,brothers, sister, my mother who willtaste the sweetest meat of the head,holding it between her fingersdeftly, the way my father didweeks ago. Then he lay downto sleep like a snow-covered roadwinding through pines older than him,without any travelers, and lonely for no one.
There is no where in you a paradise that is no place
You do not enter except without a story.
To enter there is to become unnameable.
Whoever is there is homeless for he has no door
and no identity
with which to go out and to come in.
Whoever is nowhere is nobody, and therefore cannot exist
except as unborn:
No disguise will avail him anything
Such a one is neither lost nor found.
But he who has an address is lost.
They fall, they fall into apartments and are
They find themselves in streets. They are licensed
To proceed from place to place
They now know their own names
They can name several friends and know
Their own telephones must some time ring.
If all telephones ring at once, if all names are shouted at
all cars crash at one crossing:
If all cities explode and fly away in dust
Yet identities refuse to be lost. There is a name and number
There is a definite place for bodies, there are pigeon holes
Such security can business buy!
Who would dare to go nameless in so secure a universe?
Yet, to tell the truth, only the nameless are at home in it.
They bear with them in the center of nowhere the unborn
flower of nothing:
This is the paradise tree. It must remain unseen until words
end and arguments are silent.
In the Dark Before Dawn
"The Bios Urn is a fully biodegradable urn designed to convert you into a tree after life. Mainly composed by two parts, the urn contains a seed which will grow to remember your loved one. Bios Urn turns death into a transformation and a return to life through nature.
For humans and pets."
A magnificent body
Form follows function
"Thanks to the Bios Urn construction, the seed germinates in the top capsule, separated from the ashes. Once the urn stars to biodegrade seed roots are already strong enough to contact the ashes. With biodegradation the entire set becomes part of the sub-soil."
choose your tree
* where i live, although not common knowledge, cremation 'ashes' - actually calcium - are not legally considered human remains. so, it seems that these could be 'buried' wherever any tree could legally be planted ...
In a mist of light
falling with the rain
I walk this ground
of which dead men
and women I have loved
are part, as they
are part of me.
in blood, in mind,
the dead and living
into each other pass,
as the living pass
in and out of loves
as stepping to a song.
The way I go is
marriage to this place,
grace beyond chance,
love's braided dance
covering the world.
Reflections on silence and eternity from the poet laureate of death.
by Maria Popova
Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830–May 15, 1886) was about to turn fifty-two when her mother, after whom she was named, died. A stroke had left her paralyzed and almost entirely disabled eight years earlier. Despite her lifelong infirm health, her disinterest in the life of the mind, and the surges of unhappiness in the Dickinson home, Emily Norcross Dickinson had been attentive and affectionate to her daughter, igniting the poet’s little-known but ardent passion for botany and prompting her to write that “home is a holy thing.”
Although a contemplation of mortality haunts nearly all of Dickinson’s 1775 surviving poems in varying degrees of directness, her mother’s death forced a confrontation with mortality of a wholly different order — loss as an acute immediacy rather than a symbolic and speculative abstraction.
In a letter to her cousins penned shortly after her mother’s death in November of 1882 and found in The Letters of Emily Dickinson (public library), the poet writes:
Mother’s dying almost stunned my spirit… She slipped from our fingers like a flake gathered by the wind, and is now part of the drift called “the infinite.”
We don’t know where she is, though so many tell us.
Even as a child, Emily had come to doubt the immortality so resolutely promised by the Calvinist dogma of her elders. “Sermons on unbelief ever did attract me,” she wrote in her twenties to Susan Gilbert — her first great love and lifelong closest friend. Dickinson went on to reject the prescriptive traditional religion of her era, never joined a church, and adopted a view of spirituality kindred to astronomer Maria Mitchell’s. It is with this mindset that she adds in the letter to her cousins:
I believe we shall in some manner be cherished by our Maker — that the One who gave us this remarkable earth has the power still farther to surprise that which He has caused. Beyond that all is silence…
Writing less than four years before her own untimely death, she ends the letter with these words:
I cannot tell how Eternity seems. It sweeps around me like a sea… Thank you for remembering me. Remembrance — mighty word.
In another letter from the following spring, penned after receiving news of a friend’s death, Dickinson stills her swirling sorrow the best way she knew how — in a poem:
Each that we lose takes part of us;
A crescent still abides,
Which like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.
She adds a sobering reflection on the shock each of us experiences the first time we lose a loved one:
Till the first friend dies, we think ecstasy impersonal, but then discover that he was the cup from which we drank it, itself as yet unknown.
excerpted from brainpickings