On Love and Death



Love jettisons the terror of death it soothes

the dying it removes the dread of everlasting loss

it restores and holds fast the abiding essence

of the departed it takes this gem of great worth

polishes it illuminates it sets its core on fire

and burns the beloved’s name into the earth

love never forgets because it never lets go

it casts all its care on the divine the all-powerful One

who forced death to die and comforted the dying

do we fool ourselves into thinking we do not qualify

do we feel better than our contingent station in life

do we try to secure the door against the image

of our vulnerability our weakness our sorrow


Love blunts the edge of death fending off

a glancing blow returning fire defending itself

against the void the net of nothingness

that creation casts across the back of all beings

love fills the gaps with stalwart intentions

to remember to rehearse to realign the virtues

of the dead ones to recreate the fleeting self

that endures in the grip of affection and care

our mood creates a separate world anchored in this one

yet elevated above it clutching quanta in its grasp

the timeless self leaps into the future falls back into the past

chanting in the present the chilling song of the ancestors


How I have thrown love against the wall in anger and grief

only to watch it splatter and spread then slide down the panels

of white pine and oak trailing the slightest trace of re-conception

conceiving the highest concept of existence before time

after time outside time fixed transcendentally in the eternal now

love outlasts disintegration decomposition decapitation

extraction of the heart but who has reasons to explain why one force

outlasts another why one page of the breviary sticks to another

tearing the onion skin until the reader cries I have wept for the dead

who no longer are or so my senses say who were only trumped-up

biology so many nerves and ganglia and blood and semen and bile

the self but an epiphenomenon of the brain itself an epiphenomenon

of matter


The cosmos wrenched out of orbit spins off-balance unsteady unsure

of the next step forward unable to walk or advance impotent to crawl

toward shelter a structure that can lean against the utter contingency

of all that is all could easily not be there is no compelling reason

for it to be except the love of Being love for what is and will become

the centripetal force of evolution of devolution of dialectical -isms

only the inward subjective individual lives on recapitulated

in love rehabituated in life as the necessity of love’s infinite

grasp of all things that are offered to the beloved who gently

manifests herself or himself or itself yes even the lowly

domesticated cat curls up in love’s embrace purring until sleep

turns to death endless rest in its owner’s arms love’s labor never lost



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