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Monday, September 07, 2009

Our Stories, Short and Long

An Approaching Dusk in Word and Song


there is an approaching chapter
in the plot of Life
that is written in no draft
but the first -- whether in stories
cut short suddenly, or long sagas
that inspire in its craft
of staying buoyant
on a raging sea --

that dusk will one day come
to each and every horizon
that has seen a rising sun,

or in those pages we wrote,
filled with the voice of words
which grow more and more remote,
which we now fold into boats
and set afloat in tribute
to youth gone by on a watery shore,

they will sail their little selves
like all others gone before,
to the last line of the horizon,
to meet the setting of the sun.


so the saying goes -- we're a melody in Life
as it continues with its song;
tiny echoes in harmony
or war that creep along
out into the open
to blend with the wind or
the heart; pulled apart by moments
of happiness and woe,

and as it sings steadily --
though there's no doubt in its beauty
or however bright it once shone --
the listener knows a musical fade will come,

and as we move along to our own tempo,
going solo in adagio or allegro, or to
a family of beats reminding us to also
find the fun outside of a concerto --
we know the best tunes come free
from too much pomp and virtuosity,

for our lives are but chords playing
in a finite sequence -- waiting
in the composition's infinite essence --
for that ever approaching musical cadence.


Suicide Stories, Often Short Sometimes Long

There was Sylvia Plath, a poet, a poet's wife:
who had completely sealed
her room as a shield
to protect her sleeping children,
before placing her head in an oven
to take her own life;

and Kurt Cobain, a musician, a runaway train:
who took a shotgun one day
to make the passengers pay,
and placed it under his chin
to end a brief living
overdosed on pain;

or Virginia Woolf, a writer, depression sufferer:
who put stones in her overcoat
to make sure it wouldn't float,
when she walked into the river
to save her lover
from becoming her carer;

or Margaux Hemingway and the vase-like fragility
of delicate Marilyn Monroe,
or like others we won't know,
their stories are ours too, so
remember them although
they didn't want to be,

and even though we struggle to understand --
when life pushes us on
to fight 'til the final gong --
those that take up the fight
to extinguish life's light
by their own hand,

remember those that prefer death's embrace
to the opposition of living
think themselves undeserving
of anything more than this:
a suicide more blameless
than a life in waste;

for though we make and are made in beauty,
some cannot ever see
past a deep misery
that swallows whole
the very sound of their soul
locked in a sad story.

From the collection: "A Torch For All the Dead" >>

Read more from Handprints >>

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