The Whale
            A meditation for Good Friday

Sinking, sinking, sinking.
deep rest in darkness cold:
Tide washing torn flesh,
dilutes the blood,
chills the soul,
tossing limbs to and fro.

Silence beyond silence,
Cold beyond cold,
Fear beyond fear.

Bones lose strength,
and sinews sag
their very form is lost,
and what was once a life
with borders, edges, frames
returns to elemental stuff
where even cells break down
and atoms float into the void.

Consciousness and will
no more do dwell
within, without, or with at all.
There is no where, no up, no down,
no time, no space to mark
the passing of a life,
or entrance of a death. 

            And each is all.

“Remember: you are earth,
and to earth you shall return.”
We’ve got it wrong,
for earth herself
emerged from silent sea—
a pattern in the chaos we
label terra firma,
deluding our senses
into stable cosmos, order, law.

The very law of elementals
which moves in cyclic spiral,
crumbling cliffs and grinding
rocks upon the shore,
as earth dissolves into the sea,
so do our bones and soul,
becoming one within the void.

            And each is all.

Yet even there the life force moves,
and gently bumps against
my cells that are no more,
consumes and hallows emptiness:

“And there goes that Leviathan . . .”
that swallowed Jonah, spat him out:
Bone and sinew, flesh and blood?
or broken down to cell and atom, DNA?

What elemental form is known in death?
Is there some cell, some atom,
some electron with my name
engraved upon its very being? 

The dead return to earth,
that cosmic ordering of chaos,
that quieting of turbulent form. 

Yet is there not a further path,
where even earth
returns to void?

            And each is all.

 

SC+ ca. 1998

 

 

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