Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Farewell in Poetry

After about 4 months in a blog limbo, I awake today to poetry in my soul triggered by thoughts of death and transformation which took me on a voyage through different pieces of prose on the subject matter. Morbid? Nah. But I suppose it depends on how one views and feels about death.  I especially like William Wordsworth’s 'splendour in the grass/glory in the flower' or to give it its rightful name - Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood:

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;

In one of those very weird and wonderful weekend seminars of my student days, on the transpersonal tradition in psychology, the facilitator, a Sufi Master, took the group on a creative imagination journey. We were invited to leap on Pegasus, the winged horse in Greek Mythology and fly to where the soul goes when one goes to sleep. Of course, I don’t need any encouragement to enter the imaginal realm, the world of myth and magic; just say the word and I am there. I have not forgotten the images encountered on my Pegasus ride as my very active imagination, powered by the right brain hemisphere, took me on that journey to the soul's home - only one such place or many?  This was a place of restful tranquility and solitude. 

Death must be then one of the portals through which the soul goes home.

My preoccupation with death and dying comes from the unexpected departure of my friend Dean; he with whom I had a short sojourn in the jowls of the mental health system – the underworld – last year. (See series of 7 posts on the theme in July 2013 from Madness and Human Chaos to Shadow of the Wounded Healer plus Psychiatrist, Avenger & Me).  At just 39 years of age, Dean died in his sleep. His journey this time, was complete. Death is such a shock, always, expected or not.  

In sharp contrast to the last few years of Dean’s life, his funeral was, yes, sad and grief-filled but essentially joyful and celebratory.  There was a lot of laughter and a drawing together of his clan.  His nieces played R Kelly’s I Believe I can Fly on steel pans; his sister and favourite cousin read the eulogy which made everyone laugh. Even one of the pastors in attendance made the entire congregation laugh with one of his stories.  

From his perch somewhere in the cosmos, Dean would have loved it all.  And so my tribute to him was and continues to be Mary Elizabeth Frye’s:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow...

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