Monday, January 9, 2017

After Death

I've killed myself and celebrate that death
I had to die -- I had to bleed and burst
My heart, a self-inflicted wound, a blade
That made a soul that I would never trade
For past -- I would not celebrate the worst
Whose coffin's covered with dry baby's breath.

I sunk, enjoyed the chaos of the dark,
Enjoyed the dance and music of the dead
Inviting me to stay beneath the earth
Where I, they promised, now would find my worth
There in the silence, shadows. I'd be bled
To bring my voice into the meadow lark.

Just step into the river, lie and float,
The easy choice. A tiny troll, grotesque
And hideous, grabbed hold my hand and showed
A rocky rise no one could call a road
Or path and said to me in a burlesque
And eager voice to sing a higher note.

Why should I follow up a rocky trail
A being less inviting than the way
He showed me when the water offered me
A death of ease. It's hardship I would flee
In death -- why clamor, scratch another day?
Why try another thing that I could fail?

I stepped into the river, but the troll
Pulled back on me -- I stepped onto the bank
And knew I could not step into it twice.
The mountain path was swarming with gray mice --
I turned away and then I felt a yank
And I gave in to climb the jagged knoll.

I think I left more blood upon the stones
I climbed across than I had left behind
When I had ended my disordered life
And thought that I could leave behind the strife
Of Eris, Eros, Ares undefined
Yet heavy on my mind and on my bones.

The moment that I reached the plateau's peak
The troll released my hand and turned and said,
"Now you must go beyond. I cannot hold
Your hand," and then he turned to stone so cold
I shivered in the chill. But having tread
So far I could not let myself be weak.

I took a breath that I could see -- I gazed
Up at the final cliff to climb -- I'd lost
Myself before, and now with finger grips
I had a second life where all my slips
Would strengthen me, where every single cost
Would profit me, where downcast eyes were raised.

I struggled up the cliff face certain I
Would see the promised mountain meadow, land
Where I could stand in silent awe, where streams
Would quench my thirst at last and all that seems
Would then turn into someplace I could stand
And I'd be thankful that I'd had to die.

An eagle high above began to soar
And circle -- then it dropped and swooped beside
My head. It rose and made another dive,
But all it did was tighten up my drive
To climb the cliff and make sure I'd not died
To simply be what I had been before.

I plucked a feather from the eagle's tail
And felt a lightness, swiftness as I clawed
Up to the top and found the ancient field --
Arcadia, where all the poets yield --
And in that field I planted Jacob's rod
With knowledge, wisdom, beauty I'd not fail.

And there I found myself another voice
And there I found myself another mind --
And where I found myself, the eagle came
And in that other life we both were tame --
And here I found my riches, once unmined:
A life more beautiful, and now my choice.

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