Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tomb

This is a poem I composed and delivered as the homily at our Easter Vigil service this year:


Tomb

There is so much we fear in this life
but nothing we fear so much
as death
the end of brain activity
the collapse of the lungs
never again to be filled with life’s sweet air

Death 
the end of our persona
a new day
the world will never be the same
for one soul has gone out of our presence
a face we shall never see in the same way again

But there is one thing we fear even more than death
the grave
the tomb
our body’s final resting place

as children we dared each other to walk through cemeteries
wary of what ghosts and foul spirits might beset us
as adolescents we talked to our fathers and mothers
asking questions like  
What happens when we die?
receiving proper Sunday School answers
which served as thin veils,
hiding an uncertainty about that which is not known
…but we don’t need to talk about that…
they tried to reassure us
not understanding that their hesitation only strengthened our anxiety

As newly discovered adults we consoled our closest friends
especially in those days when their parents began to fade
It’s better not to think about it…
we tried to tell ourselves
not understanding we could not ignore death itself

No one
not our parents or our friends
not Ghandi or Jesus, not God Himself
could escape the inevitable occurrence of death
and the grave’s dark corners
its unsettlingly long night.

That is precisely the point

Confront the strange, seedy establishments of Night!
for there is no corner,
no shadow, or fear
no doubt
that has not been inhabited by the Author of Light

No empty rocking chair where she used to sit
no closet full of her clothes we cannot bear to see or touch
or smell
no hospital bed or emergency room
full of grief
no casket or urn or sanctuary pew
no tear-inducing eulogy
escapes his point of view

Now our own children
full of wonder and curiosity
ask us those same burdensome questions
What happens when we die?

We understand our parents’ hesitation
now it is our own.

The questions get us thinking
uncertainty lies ahead
as does certainty
Each of us will die
our fathers and mothers
our brothers, our friends,
our lovers
our selves
Even our precious young ones
            ah, there is the thought we cannot bear

Yet deaths even as unthinkable as these
have already been inhabited
known and understood
by the one who let his own son love us
to death
and watched and mourned and angrily lashed
as we carried him and laid him in a borrowed tomb

This is not the last word! he shouted to the cosmos
The pangs of death will be overcome!
The grave will not hold him for long
            so I will not…his friends will not
            be overcome
They will know his death was not a statistic
            not a pointless, vain thing
No, death shall be overcome!
Its timing will always be worse than wrong
its certainty will never be avoided
its pain will never fully recede
but they will know
            from now until forever
there is no need to wilt or tremble
Death will be overcome!


1 comment:

Huỳnh Hiểu Minh said...

chúng tôi xin mang dến cho bạn một vìa thông tin tổng hợp của cô ca sĩ mai thiên vân với giọng hát đầy tình cảm. Và con một điều lưu ý nữa về việc bà bầu có nên ăn chôm chôm ko