A work in progress: 2 verses are in their first draft, the rest are in a second. So any feedback would be gratefully received.
Pale and brittle, wilting to a stranger beauty,
the hydrangeas know the score, know that
the withering is not the dying, but a mask,
an act of mourning, a long process
brought on by the sudden shock of death
and cushioning its worst effects.
Wise in their own wisdoms, they
know death for what it is:
a momentary singularity in which
all space in all of its dimensions
is removed from time, and time is drawn
immeasurably brief - a singularity,
which when it seems to linger has passed by.
What lingers are the echoes of a life that was.
Imagine you are in a country house.
You're in a window seat and looking out.
You see a ha-ha and beyond that sunken fence
a herd of rare breed cattle in the fields.
The house resounds to life's activities, it seems,
but what you hear are echoes of the life that was,
the life that made it what it was, the body processes
that run on pointlessly because they cannot stop.
And what you might have thought were death-bed sounds
are made by children playing, are reverberations
of a new existence brewing, not upstairs,
but in the garden, nursery or hall. Outside,
the cattle are the earnest that the life goes on.
Ah, but there we have it, for between the two, between
the past and future, death's hiatus lies -
a ha-ha we've internalised. To one side stand
the masters of the house, and to the other
lie their bodies. On the one side erstwhile mistresses
still entertain, whilst on the other lie
their corpses in their graves. Between the two
is no communication, neither now, nor ever was,
though something passes, though we know not what, between
our space-cum-time continuum and that lost world
in which each nano-moment now exists,
and must exist, apart from space and other time.
The dead are buried in the dust and faeces
of a world that was not meant to be, that no one planned,
that happened anyway, at night, when no
one was on guard. But some have been cremated
and their ashes spread. Blown by the wind, they've found their way
across and deep inside the ha-ha, deep, so deep,
where no light falls. Our singularity has all
the attributes of the astronomer's black hole.
We can go in, cannot return. Yet still they sing
and still there is there life abundant -
as the cattle testify, their life somehow
more spiritual than ours. But we
who are still living, cannot know
the ways of any world in which they're not,
and of our loved ones it may be we cannot spot
the crossing points at which they leave for good:
the body dies, the mind expires and someone
must pronounce the patient dead - and all
at different times, perhaps. And all that while
the inside and the outside states are out of key.
We see it still in the hydrangeas, though
their season has wound on and there are other deaths:
the fox cub in the road shows how
each death of every kind is timeless in its way.
The moon petals the sea. Rose petals the sea. Stone sea. Stone petals. Rose petals of stone. Stone rising before me. Sea moves. How moves...
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