Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lonely Burial

There were not many at that lonely place,

Where two scourged hills met in a little plain. T
he wind cried loud in gusts, then low again.
Three pines strained darkly, runners in a race
Unseen by any.
Toward the further woods
A dim harsh noise of voices rose and ceased. --
We were most silent in those solitudes --
Then, sudden as a flame, the black-robed priest,
The clotted earth piled roughly up about
The hacked red oblong of the new-made thing,
Short words in swordlike Latin -- and a rout
Of dreams most impotent, unwearying.
Then, like a blind door shut on a carouse,
The terrible bareness of the soul's last house.

- Stephen Vincent Benet, American poet,
born on this day, 1898

I love thinking about dying! Not because I am morbid in any way. But because I like to think about what other people think about dying. Human beings are fascinating. It is amazing how differently we all think about things. And culture! Different cultures, brought up in different ways, forming our thoughts and our ideas. When I look at Indian culture, and others, I can’t help but think (and wonder why) our own American approach to death is so very very weird!

Benet is lovely. I memorized poems by him in high school. Does anyone do that any more? The terrible bareness of the soul’s last house? That won’t be my end! Ashes returned to earth in as beautiful a spot as I can find!

Life is infinitely more important than death. Think about Life mostly. And plan your death ceremonies to reflect not terrible bareness but lush wonder and happy times.


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