Monday, 27 October 2014

When Death Comes

When death comes

like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
-Mary Oliver

Here is Honesty, so named because it's seed pods look like shiny silver pennies.  If we are to pay for our passage through the enchantments that lie between this world and the next, this is surely the currency.   

The old year is dying, the first of the autumn storms blew by and took half of the leaves, revealing skeletons like anatomical drawings , hidden things, forgotten vistas.  I could as easily write about how half the leaves are left, the land is still green, the trees are half full, but to me the trees are half empty.

The naked bones of the land are being laid bare, she is becoming stone woman, bone woman, keeper of mysteries and revealer of secrets.

My soul longs for the darkness, for the boundless infinity contained therein, as much as it revels in the green/grey/copper/gold/russet patchwork of the ever changing land.

Halloween is nearly upon us, the leaves turn, the year turns, the veil grows thin - our ancestors await our acknowledgement.

These stones are the remains of an ancient Bronze Age settlement on Shapley Common, near here.  Standing in this place every fibre of my being knows the presence of the ancient ones. I feel their long-gone breath on the back of my neck and hear them whisper a plea - asking for a re-membering of the sacred.

Outside the hut there was a trail of wool leading to an eloquent pattern of bones, (the squeamish should look away now).

It felt very fitting, alongside the visceral feeling of the aliveness of my ancestors, this dead sheep. Everything must die, in its time.  Every thing shall be remembered and the spark of remembering will light the bone fires -  honouring those who have gone before us.  In remembering what has gone- before I ask you to consider what is to come; to see us all in the great river of time and to make a promise to those for whom you may be an ancestor - that we will try our damnedest to leave them a world where there is still beauty and sacredness and a place for the strange two-leggeds who are so dangerously close to making a mess of absolutely everything.
A musical p.s.  

As I was writing this I had  Barrow Song on constant repeat in my head.  It was written by Andy Letcher and performed by his band Telling The Bees (a lovelier bunch of people would be hard to find).  I decided to put it here for you to enjoy and discovered that it is followed by Beautiful on their wonderful first album 'Untie The Wind'. Clearly the thread of my thoughts is common enough.  A third album is underway from Telling The Bees and will be released soon,  I can't wait! 


  1. Beautiful...the longing for darkness.
    Wanted to share this:

    Saint Death

    This is how I like to picture her,
    as they do in Mexico; Santa Muerte,

    who, with flowers as bright as fireworks
    against the dark folds of her dress,

    follows behind me
    like Eurydice, just out of sight.

    Although her naked skull is tongue-less,
    she speaks insistently as I walk;

    See the shape of the air
    in the movement of the water,
    and the light that glows through grass.
    See sky, the colours of its vastness.
    Hear a bird’s wings beating,
    feel your lips parting as you breathe.
    before you slow
    and I reach you.

    I am, of course, alone – it’s just a game -
    but now nothing else matters:

    green blades are luminous in sunlight,
    my tongue is wet against my lips,

    and in the sky,
    a buzzard,
    its eyes earth-locked,

    the pitiless, focused silence.

  2. Wow, Thank you so much for sharing this Nomi. Why aren't you putting your poetry on your blog? Its beautiful and powerful and poignant. x