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The Heart of Living and Dying

A Journey in Four Stages

Death is not our friend, or our enemy, but our foreshadower


Her Death Wish

(Parts 3 and 4)

(Parts 1 and 2 here)

iii) end

What did it stand for? What did it mean?

Is it supposed to have meaning? Is it about survival? If this is true, why do we dream? Hopes, desires, you can visualise it, almost touch it... And if we know that many of our dreams, like our fears, are never realised, then how many of us are walking around unfulfilled? Getting to the end of our lives, whenever that may be, and realising that we are deflated. Short of our potential. Merely a reach - a mad scramble for our goals, partial success, only to be ultimately left short... empty of hand.

Sure some achieve little victories, perhaps even all but are we satisfied to leave it at that? For as long as the heart beats, it continues to yearn.

Perhaps this is why people settle for second best. It’s easier to capitulate and have some control, then to smile under the crushing weight of disappointment. At the end, most will justify their position, no matter where they sit on the imbalanced scale of society’s wealth... and be content with it.

Deep within, under the layers of frustration (and justification) lies the heart of the question. Niggling, annoying, never to wholly let go…

What if?

What if you were meant to do more? What if you had made different decisions? Who could you have been? Where could you have gone? Who could you have been with?

The age arrives, when there is more behind than forwards.

Precious time shooting by, not savoured, (When you’ve barely worked out who you are)

... and before long, there is too much time. A slower pace, relaxed, but strangely not as satisfying.

And now that the silence that you could only once fantasise about...

Is all around you

You’ll do almost anything to break it.

Snippets of memories

Like shredded, jumbled puzzle pieces

Some inconsequential

But as real as today

Others blurred, many forgotten

Here comes the fear

Of being unwanted

Of being irrelevant

And all the while, the body wears down

Betraying you.

You feel for those left behind

As though stranded in the airport

But other times you’re only worried about your own mortality

And it’s possible brevity

It’s the most frightening thing you can think of.

The celestials dogfight

Theologians debate

The Gods tussle over ownership of your soul

But there’s only one truth

And that is yours

Just don’t tell me how it is.

The sun is setting

And all your musings count for naught

It’s down to the inevitable

The realisation is crushing beyond compare

All that’s left

Are the times before...

iv) Epilogue – the girl

There was no one else, only her.

A lone carriage shooting across the plains.

As she came to the juncture…

It felt the only way.

“I’ve got to be going now. And that’s ok.”

She sat down

In the afternoon shadow of her grandmother’s house

And tried

And tried

To relinquish her pain

Through a finality.

And yet she did not succeed. Something held her back. Just enough. There was something else. A hint. A tease... nothing substantial...

...but just enough.

Not an epiphany. A gust of wind. A truck in the distance. Something.

For a moment, the world looked different. And it gave her pause. It gave her... hope. There was time. Perhaps it was all she had. But as long as she had time…

She had survived.

Ready to begin again.

Part of the epic artwork Rebirth by Manabu Ikeda

This Death Project as it was originally known, was written ten years ago. This is the first time that anyone has read it. No use sitting in a folder. As to what inspired it, I've forgotten. Most of my poetry was written from 2009 onwards so its quite early in that sense of development.

Most of the images were also sourced at that time, except for this last one.

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