Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



Ars Moriendi

Black out. So black
we have to make light of it,
but there's no light,
no touch, taste,
sound, scent - no-one.

How tempting
the temple's rolling song,
honeyed promises
of more to come -

Death crashes into cells,
crumples brains,
chills to the core.
Rot rampages,
gases spew,
flesh ferments,
busy beetles
and filthy flies
strip skin and sinew

from the bones
of those we knew,
the much-prized curves,
the flashlight nerves,
and those who want death
to crush their cares;
all cut down
to a silhouette,
then static, silence.

White out. That winter's
white after the dying
back, making way
for the first cry,
the first stretch of wings.

The blackbird tells us
as she trills from her nest
on a summer's night
that this is all there is.

Her being thrums
as she thrusts
each note into the air,
her song resounds
through our cells,
stirs in our blood
our shared ancestry
and aspiration,
teetering on a toe

over lifelessness...
in the ever-expanding
flux of gas and mass
and immense darkness,
we are a miraculous
spark in the dark;
but we can say
we had our chance.
We had our chance.

This poem is part of the "Natural Causes" collection of poems with illustrations by Geoff MacEwan.

For more information, go to Poems and Etchings - Natural Causes.

Ars Moriendi etching

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