Robert Rorabeck (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)
According To Death
With others old and gray,
Or not so old at all—Maybe they will
Mostly be fair haired and young,
If it should be a tragedy. Who knows?
But this is known, I will die some day
When Death comes to collect that part of
Me that he sees fit to remain,
To gather me up— a silhouette
Of the somber procession upon the hill
Backlit by a tired sun— The busy insects will
Eat what is left, the scuttling carnivores,
Nature’s vacuum cleaners which God created to
Keep things cleaned, so there are no leftovers
As everything is satisfied—
Away from the anthills and plaguing swarms we
Will go, being grinned out by our own death masks
As we leave, bidding adieus—
Those heartless grins ex-lovers put on for show-
Go down with that orb if Death leads us there,
But who knows where Death goes, except that
He will take us with him to the other side,
His black robes billowing importantly, for
He is the herald of our great king, his
Skeletal hand pointing ever onward like a compass, onward in the
Shade which is so very quiet where no hearts beat,
No blood flows— And maybe our procession will never
End. We will just keep going down in some great viewless stairwell
Beneath the world until we forget that we ever knew the pains of settlement.
In that abyssal fjord where Death will ditch us,
And leave us to the tricks of his shadow as he dives back up
To collect some more….
But this is known— that one day I shall die
And so shall you. My mother will die….
And on that day of the week people will be born
And the people already there shall live— People will go out and make love.
On that Friday a movie will come out you will never see
And there will be a book written that would have made me cry….
And the sun will come up afterwards like it did for us,
But not really so similar all in all, for our sun will be dead,
And this new sun rising is only for the living. Perhaps,
Though, we shall not care at all, knowing that these gifts are
Laid about to gladden the living, as we find newly indescribable
Things to attire our naked souls, or maybe we will not remember
At all. Maybe we will be like the egg in the nest in the crook of a branch
Of an expansive tree. Laying there in our nooks waiting to hatch again
To be filled with new thoughts, like the river’s changing gown,
We will become again something we never before were.
But one thing is certain,
That one day you shall die
And I shall follow you, before or after,
It matters little as we shall all accord to Death.
*For Ingmar Bergman
Comments about this poem (According To Death by Robert Rorabeck )
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