Poet’s Notebook: My poem “Death” followed by comments

Death

No matter how it comes up,
it comes up,
in, through. . .
It isn’t like anything else
but, as it takes more
and more of the people of my life
and the edges of my memories
it begins to feel more like life
than when life was everything.
It used to be like a ghost or a far off war
or a feeling I couldn’t trace
or own
like the memory of a song
about a place in a country in a book
about a movie in a dream.
No more.

Comments:

More and more people have crossed in my life. Many more are crossing. In the meantime, I find that being 66 is a good time to contemplate the in-between. Not that I am halfway through life. Quite the contrary, if I imagine life as a hill or small mountain, I have summited and am looking out across the landscape that includes all the directions in the round. This is the “still moment” that T. S. Eliot talked about, that is neither movement away nor toward, the moment of neither coming nor going, but of gathering and letting go at the same time. It’s like in yoga when you realize you aren’t breathing on your own anymore, but you are being breathed. Death is not the enemy, and death is certainly not no-life. As death gathers more and more life to itself the difference between life and death grows thinner and thinner, and what they say in the East becomes more real, about how life is illusion, a big Dream. Life is not “life” and death is not “death”. Not a bad place to arrive. By not clinging to life or siding with life, I feel more alive than ever!

 

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