The Last Enemy …

KIF_0815DEATH BE NOT PROUD (Holy Sonnet X)

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and souls deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better than thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, Death, thou shalt die.

– John Donne

“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians, 15:26

Today we are mourning the loss of another friend, a good man, Ralph, to whom this is dedicated. Hence the sharing of this poem rather than the usual Thursday post.

the best season of your life

fantacy

Flowers in the spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life.”
Wumen Huikai (1183–1260) was a Zen Master famous as the compiler of and commentator on the koan collection, The Gateless Gate

This afternoon I have a memorial service for a treasured friend, Leslie, who is a member of my Support Group for People with Life Threatening Illness. She was dear and will be missed and my heart is heavy, much too heavy. Hence I am unable to bring you an American She-Poet, the usual Thursday post  … but look for one next Thursday.

Tomorrow (prescheduled): More on the interfaith eco-poetry slam that was held on June 30th in Israel.

A little bit of big wisdom, especially or activists, courtesy fo Michael Watson.

A little bit of big wisdom, especially for activists, courtesy of Michael Watson (Dreaming the World).

Carpe Diem.
Love,
Jamie

Some Mothers’ Hearts Have Stopped

Some mothers’ children stare unseeing
No sweet, wet baby kisses from blistered lips,

. . . . songs unsung

No wedding portraits to dust and treasure
No graduations or trips to the sea

. . . . just their bodies to bury

crushed
beaten
stilled

by the engine of nihilism

Limbs cracked and broken, bellies torn
Faces purpled, hearts stopped

Hearts stopped …
. . . . hearts stopped

Some mothers’ hearts have stopped

Some mother's children

Some mothers’ children

© 2015, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photograph of some mothers’ children killed in the Syrian Civil War, Ghouta massacre/uploaded by Bkwillwm to Wikipedia under CC BY 3.0 license (I believe it may be a screen shot from a news video)

Our Sighs Ride the Ebb-tides of Eternity … in memory …

 IMG_20140525_110843673_HDROn May 28, our group for people with life-threatening illnesses celebrated the lives of those who have already passed on. I was unable to attend the memorial service due to bronchitis, but I celebrate them, two of my family, and this wonderful group here today.

Our group is comprised of people from several different religious traditions and is hosted by our local Insight Meditation Center. The group was founded and is run by a Buddhist chaplain who has been very kind and is a stalwart friend to each of us.

Though I still follow the progress of friends in the group and attend our quarterly potlucks, I no longer participate in meetings. By some surely unearned grace, I am now considered “chronic and stable” and I’ve grown to the point that the news of death no longer disturbs me. The major take-away for me from this experience is that the only difference between having a medically predicted expiration date and not knowing when our time will come is that with a diagnosis, we no longer fall into those moments of denial. That’s a huge gift. Huge! The result is that we become present in each moment.

Today is my loving celebration of: Ann, Deborah, Dick, Ernie, Hilda, Mary, Parvathy, Robert, Mary Kate, Steve, Victor and of family lost in recent years: my former husband, Kirby (the most decent man I’ve ever known), and my cousin, Christopher, with whom I grew-up and who was like a brother … 

Each moment and every person is precious and beautiful and the only thing that really matters is how much we have loved and been loved and that – as survivors – we continue to live in the service of our families and those in need. In the end it would seem that’s the best way to honor the family and friends whose memory we treasure .

Eternity flowed deftly through the last eight years
enfolding in her stream eleven with whom we
contemplated Knowledge and Mortality
Looking back, we ponder amazed at love among friends,
……….it blossoms fragrant, as gentle
……….as a dewy rose among thorns and thistles
We thrash and crawl and climb
……….puzzling
……….over the sea and fire that stalks us
Our hearts, cupped in one another’s hands
……….like castanets, beat in unison
Our measured moments grave lines in phantom fears,
……….they float like storm clouds above us
In words of jade, we speak elegies and encomiums
Our smiles mask our sorrows and yearning
Our laughter is love grown wild
We see each other in a thousand shapes and dreams
……….and in nameless names
Our sighs ride the ebb tides of Eternity
…..Another moment:
…..and even the sun will die
…..but our lotus song will echo on ….
……….We have lived! We have loved!

© 2014, words and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved