O Death, Death

O Death, Death, He is come.
O grounds of Hell make room.
Who came from further than the stars
Now comes as low beneath.
Thy ribbed ports, O Death
Make wide; and Thou, O Lord of Sin,
Lay open thine estates.
Lift up your heads, O Gates;
Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors
The King of Glory will come in.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins

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2 thoughts on “O Death, Death”

  1. Bird thoughts -- because you know that it's not just one, but a flock, chirping and flitting about:

    Yesterday, during a 3.5 hr. marathon art session at the studio uptown with the artist with whom my kids "apprentice," I was able to (re)read almost all of Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies.  It's a wonderful book.  I bought it, used, and am underlining and marking up the margins like crazy.

    Anne speaks of Buddhist spirituality and practices.  In the essay, "Ashes," she writes:

    "We are sometimes like the characters in Waiting for Godot, where the only visible redemption is the eventual appearance in Act Two of four or five new leaves on the pitiful tree.  On such a stage, how can we cooperate with grace?  How can we open ourselves up to it?  How can we make room for anything new?  How can we till the field?  And so people also mark themselves with ashes to show that they trust in the alchemy God can work with those ashes -- jogging us *awake*, moving us toward greater ATTENTION and OPENNESS and LOVE."  (92)

    In the essay, "Traveling Mercies," Anne writes:

    "...[T]his is life's nature:  that lives and hearts get broken -- those of people we love, those of people we'll never meet.  She [Veronica, her preacher] said that the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes.  You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers." (106)

    Anne went on to speak of Carolyn Myss and her enlightening encounter on a plane with a man who worked for the Dalai Lama.  On a horrible, rotten, no good day (for Carolyn), this man explained that, as Buddhism teaches, "when a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born--and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible."  (107)

    On the Fourth of July, our solitary pet died very suddenly.

    Yesterday, my husband suddenly became very confused and disoriented and blacked out at work.  Tests showed nothing to be amiss with his heart or blood pressure or diabetes.  He seems to be fine now.  But -- how jarring and worrisome.

    In the days between, the full gamut from joy and lightness to deep grief and "laborious birthing" going on.  Romans 8!

    I always enjoy the poetry posts here.  Words of art.  :-)

    "Peace" is my mantra.  But of course, a thing studied and sought with such single-minded focus will force a person to learn a lot more about the subject than one imagined at the outset.  I found a poem by Gerald Manley Hopkins titled "Peace."


    Must fly now.  Blessings.  Do you need a graham cracker and cup of juice?  Or a word of hope?

  2. The epitome of irony! Truthfully, I prefer John Donne's Death, be not Proud. What an arrogant monster is death!

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