Birth and Death? Let’s Ask the Poets.

by lisa st john

Death does not concern us, because as

long as we exist, death is not here. And

when it does come, we no longer exist.”

Epicurus

 

 

What’s so bad about death? Why can’t we celebrate the circle, the cycle? I do not understand the fear of death. Won’t it be just like before I was born? Why can’t we laugh about it?

As if I couldn’t love Ricky Gervais any more than I already do, he says this:

When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It’s only painful & difficult for others. The same applies when you are stupid.

 

The only reason I am thinking of death is because I am thinking about birth.

 

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It’s like the incongruous nature of my favorite flower arrangement, roses and daisies.

To some people, daisies are a weed. To some people, roses are the ultimate expensive gift.

I am not some people.

They bloom at the same time in my yard, and I love their paradox, their contrast.

Why can’t we love death the same way?

Doesn’t it just remind us of the grandeur of birth?

What mystical being is woman? No creature of imagination, no Pegasus, no  Phoenix, can compare to the power and majesty of the human female.

 

 

 

Creation and destruction are our basest states, aren’t they? As for the soul, isn’t that what makes up our life, our living?

 

 

 

Excerpt from “Nothing But Death” by Pablo Neruda

Death arrives among all that sound
like a shoe with no foot in it, like a suit with no man in it,
comes and knocks, using a ring with no stone in it, with no
finger in it,
comes and shouts with no mouth, with no tongue, with no
throat.

Nevertheless its steps can be heard
and its clothing makes a hushed sound, like a tree.

I’m not sure, I understand only a little, I can hardly see,
but it seems to me that its singing has the color of damp violets,
of violets that are at home in the earth,
because the face of death is green,
and the look death gives is green,
with the penetrating dampness of a violet leaf
and the somber color of embittered winter.

 

Excerpt from “There Was a Child Went Forth” by Walt Whitman

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he looked upon and received with wonder
or pity or love or dread, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part
of the day . . . . or for many years or stretching cycles of
years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morningglories, and white and red
clover, and the song of the phœbe-bird,
And the March-born lambs, and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and
the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf, and the noisy brood of
the barn-yard or by the mire of the pond-side . . and the fish
suspending themselves so curiously below there . . . and the
beautiful curious liquid . . and the water-plants with their
graceful flat heads . . all became part of him. …

The horizon’s edge, the flying seacrow, the fragrance of
saltmarsh and shoremud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and
who now goes and will always go forth every day,
And these become of him or her that peruses them now.

 

“Soulshine” by Warren Haynes (Because nothing makes the soul shine more than sons and daughters and grandbabies and everything else that makes up what we call love.)

 

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Love you, darling!!!!

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