When I think of death
It is a bright enough city,
And every year more faces there
But not a single one
Though I long for it,
And when they talk together,
Which they do
It’s in an unknowable language-
I can catch the tone
But understand not a single word-
And when I open my eyes
There’s the mysterious field, the beautiful trees.
There are the stones.
In the silence of this retreat I hear death speaking to me. There’s the creak in my knees as I unfold my legs again and again, rising and falling into the sitting cushion. The wind in the Spanish Moss whispers of times past and times yet to come. The clank of dishes, the cough, the sigh, the bell, the clapper, and my own urine splash and tinkle in the bathroom, all these death and life. The chickadee, perky with her dark cap, won’t be alive in a few more years, so short this species’ span of life. But now I hear her high in the oak, already dead before she hatched. I wish I could speak this language. So I sit, I strain, I listen. After each mediation I open my eyes. I see the beautiful tree, a grave marker on my heart, breaking it open, weighing me down with stones, until I am so deep in the earth that I am one with all.
Where and how does the language of death come to you?