Poetry Archives Index




by Blake Steele


Poetry about death and resurrection

file opened 7/94



                    A MESSAGE TO UCAP VOLUNTEERS

                    A MUSICAL DEATH WATCH

                    A SEASON OF GRIEVING

                    A THIRST FOR LIFE



                    BLESSINGS IN DEATH



                    DEATH (a variation on a theme from Reverdy)

                    DON'T BE AFRAID




                    GOD GRANT YOU A BLESSED DEATH

                    GRIEVING OVER DEATH








                    INVOCATION AND REQUESTS

                    I SAW A NURSE WHO HELPED A MAN DIE



                    OUR WORK



                    REMEMBER AND TAKE COURAGE

                    RIDING THE BLACK HORSE



                    TERMINAL ENDINGS


                    THE FINAL FIRE OF PASSION


                    THERE IS A LUMINOUS DEATH

                    THE TRUE MINISTERS



                    TO MUSICAL MIDWIVES






                    WE ARE CHOOSEN TO BE MIDWIVES

                    WE ARE HERE TO SING SOUL PEACE

                    WHEN I TAKE MY IDENTITY



                    WORDS OF GENTLE LEADING


                    Last Poem in File:










                         A MESSAGE TO UCAP VOLUNTEERS


                         It is not enough

                         to know God, experience God

                         or love God....

                         we must celebrate God,

                         exalt God,

                         make God beautiful

                         in our manifestation of Him.

                         This is our mission,

                         that hearts might awaken

                         as they grasp and feel

                         their essential need

                         of the Holy Maker

                         through our lives

                         and work.


                         Yet, it is not enough

                         to celebrate God,

                         exalt God,

                         or make God beautiful

                         until we bear this

                         work, this essential

                         unveiling through our artistry

                         to the most needy:

                         to the sick, to the oppressed,

                         to the dying.

                         Then we shall know

                         the rising light

                         of the Divine smile

                         radiating out from the core of us

                         to warm the whole

                         of our lives.










                              I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE


                              Jesus purely loves young beauty.

                              That is why an old woman

                              springs up into youth again;

                              that is why an old broken man

                              becomes an adventuresome boy.









                        GRIEVING OVER DEATH


                        It is the eyes of the heart

                        which can see beyond

                        the empty chair

                        by the lonely fireside.

                        Our heart of faith whispers,

                        "My beloved one

                        lives in a beautiful place..."

                        With that, our soul is strangely comforted

                        and the two worlds are for a moment, one.

                        If we should long to join them,

                        then, mysteriously, they join us.

                        If we should briefly meet them

                        in the rich, mingling feelings

                        of our spirit and body,

                        this would be the radiant root

                        of a deathless joy.







                        IN TRUTH, WE GRIEVE ONLY FOR OURSELVES


                        By our faith,

                        we can bless the heart of God

                        and of our loved ones

                        who have passed before us

                        into that hidden, wondrous world.

                        The only strange, sad grief of Heaven

                        is the pang in beautiful hearts

                        concerning our pain of grief for them.

                        Why should we grieve for those

                        whose souls are young again,

                        and joyous always?

                        It is they, who in their wakeful compassions

                        long (without anguish),

                        for us to arise and relish

                        the rare blessings all around us

                        which we must learn

                        to thankfully savor.

                        In truth, we grieve only for ourselves

                        --what might have been and what is no more--

                        yet, our terrible loss is only for a season...

                        The essential ties of the soul are torn

                        to be reborn

                        in glad exaltation.

                        We shall gaze again into

                        the eyes we have known and loved

                        and see reflected there

                        a boundless happiness!






                         THE LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM


                         The little child shall lead them

                         when words of truth

                         flow from deep chambers of the heart

                         opened by simplicity's white hands.

                         There is a wise child who is behind us

                         (locked in a prison),

                         who is before us, beckoning us on

                         into our final freedom.

                         This child alone knows the way through

                         the tremulous storms of thick darkness;

                         this child alone can walk between two dragons

                         into earth's final paradise of peace.

                         It is this child

                         who takes off all mortal gowns

                         in death's slow disintegration,

                         and steps naked

                         out through pure nothingness

                         into heaven's radiance.








                         THE FINAL FIRE OF PASSION


                         The final fire of passion

                         is to pass over!

                         It is for the great release to come

                         with the heart wide open!

                         It is to sing death, like a celebration.

                         Such is the victory of a luminous death!

                         But for us who are left behind,

                         there are good-byes which can only be spoken

                         with expressions of the face,

                         gentle touches of the hand,

                         and the muttering of metaphors.

                         What else can be done?

                         Good-bye is the pain we endure

                         because we have loved.





                         UPON THE SHIP WE HAVE ALWAYS NAMED HOPE


                         A ship lets loose its lines

                         as the crowd stirs

                         and white sails,

                         like mounting, morning clouds,

                         are spread to the blue winds.

                         We are the unwilling watchers

                         on the shore

                         bidding beloved sailors farewell,

                         watching white sails

                         grow dim, disappearing

                         into the dark of night.

                         Yet, if we linger in the silence left us,

                         listening long with the strong intent

                         of our faith,

                         we might faintly hear wild spray

                         curling over the ship's bow

                         as it sails into the invisible light

                         of a distant dawn.








                         WE ARE CHOOSEN TO BE MIDWIVES


                         There is no way around the cross

                         which love nails us to

                         that it might deepen our souls for loving.

                         We must grow to grant our full permission

                         of a soul's release--

                         though we sign it with a broken heart

                         and seal it with the tears of our eyes--

                         it is that we might birth the beloved wayfarer

                         into eternity

                         with our courageous final act of love.

                         It is not our choice

                         but the choice of love

                         that we become

                         their broken-hearted midwives.










                         DON'T BE AFRAID


                         Don't be afraid.

                         Your beloved is with God now,

                         and God is a rising ecstasy,

                         a blue breath of freedom in the veins.

                         There is a distant, spiritual country

                         which views this world

                         as insubstantial shadow.

                         They are there now, finally and fully alive!

                         Their joyous freedom is astonishing!

                         There is a soft radiance

                         which streams out of everything.

                         Bird song astounds the soul with beauty.

                         It is the land of the deep gentle

                         which is like a mother's warm arms.

                         It is the place which has always

                         seeped into our highest dreams of happiness,

                         the source of that loving wonder

                         which gave us strength to carry on

                         until the final farewell.

                         Don't be afraid,

                         your beloved is saying hello now to God's kind face.

                         And we shall follow them one day.


                         To a person of faith, our most painful good-byes

                         shall become, in the end, our most joyous hellos.








                         REMEMBER AND TAKE COURAGE


                         A good death

                         is a loving farewell

                         into birth. In truth, a graduation.

                         The tearing of the roots of the soul

                         for the one left behind

                         is an astonishing pain,

                         making a yielding soul soft,

                         making the outraged soul

                         fierce like wildfire.

                         But the dying one leaves

                         and is born anew into a rapturous, white, safety.

                         The face becomes noble

                         as it beholds astounding wonders.

                         A little girl springs out of an old woman's body

                         and embraces the young Messiah.

                         A young boy leaps up from on old man's bones,

                         his eyes flashing, his nostrils flared

                         as the great adventure begins.

                         You who remain,

                         weeping in the shadows of mortal trees,


                         somewhere, high overhead,

                         golden doors are opening

                         and a wondrous music has begun.










                              TO MUSICAL MIDWIVES


                              The soulful presence

                              of a musician

                              who is a poet

                              of life

                              shall be the work

                              of giving a sacred,

                              silent, meaning

                              to the holiness

                              of death.







                              OUR WORK


                              Our work

                              is to sing

                              the sacred


                              of the holiness

                              of death.






                         THE TRUE MINISTERS


                         Many would wish you health and wealth.

                         Let those who journey towards

                         becoming deep, spacious souls

                         wish you good living and dying.








                        (a variation on a theme from Reverdy)


                        Two worlds draw near each other.

                        As a burning candle dies

                        its smoke goes up.

                        Someone has gone up.

                        Above the low clouds of gray

                        the blue sky is also rising...

                        From naked trees in the mist

                        golden stars are dangling,

                        whirling and spinning

                        in a delicate breeze.

                        All around the roof edges

                        of a distant cathedral

                        there are golden gutters

                        from which little silver bells are hanging.

                        Prayers arise for the departed

                        like clouds of incense--

                        a free heart has flown away

                        and we sit sadly listening.

                        Somewhere, the soul,

                        like candle smoke,

                        softly rises into heaven.

                        It passes by little silver bells

                        and makes them ring.











                    Sing your last grief away now,

                    with your silent, inner voice.

                    The song begins with...thank you...

                    and ends with,

                    I accept it all...









                         THERE ARE WINDING, WATERY PATHWAYS 


                         Why are we afraid to deeply feel?

                         At the first shot of the hunter

                         many birds fall dead off

                         telephone wires.

                         Fear constricts us,

                         and dry pebbles fall from our lips

                         to break the empty water glasses of children.

                         But there is a secret stream

                         which laughs always,

                         through day and night

                         and brushes its soft, liquid lips

                         across every heart.

                         It courses through the tiny crevasses

                         of the mountains of the moon

                         and floods the earth with silver song.

                         It tumbles silently through the golden

                         cataracts of the sun

                         to wildly run its fingers

                         through wind tossled hair.

                         If it should flow through words,

                         they patter like flowers

                         thrown against drums

                         or sear their imprints like smoldering coals

                         cast upon delicate papers

                         in the deep heart.

                         And when it's time

                         for the spirit to arise

                         and journey towards heaven

                         with its eyes full of glad faces

                         and the sun,

                         it is on a soft path of silver waters

                         that the soul glides.








                       I SAW A NURSE WHO HELPED A MAN DIE


                       I saw a nurse who helped a man die,

                       but could not access her own grief:

                       She's been dying a little by degrees

                       for some time now

                       into the institutional death of professionalism.

                       She keeps her charts filled

                       as she casually drifts further

                       from the young, free fire of compassion

                       which causes all women

                       who hold its flame in their flesh

                       to weep, then laugh

                       and throw their wild hair back

                       into dark winds.








                         A MUSICAL DEATH WATCH

                         St. Charles Hospital

                         December 26th, 1994


                         I have been

                         with an amazing family,

                         who gathered together at 

                         the deathbed of a dearly

                         loved woman.

                         It was an astonishing thing,

                         for they were singing

                         their good-byes

                         in celebrative hymns

                         --husband, children, grandchildren.

                         We imagined the old lady

                         young again,

                         stepping through veils

                         of the universe

                         into a beautiful world

                         full of bird song

                         and laughter.

                         Such miracles transpire

                         when love opens

                         imagination's eyes.








                             In the name of all blessing

                             In the name of all peace

                             In the name of Jesus

                             who took the fear of death off us

                             In the name of absolution

                             In the name of coming glory...









                             I am dying now...

                             It is time to come to peace:

                             say things that must be said:

                             give forgiveness and be forgiven,

                             cherish life, savior things,

                             tell you that I love you.                     

                             Don't be afraid,

                             share with me fully

                             the precious time

                             which remains.

                             Surround me with your love.


                             I need to know you understand

                             that I'm dying

                             and that you're going to be all right.

                             Come, give me your permission

                             so I can take this journey

                             with joy and peace, nothing held back.

                             God knows, the beauty will be great.

                             I won't be alone...

                             Surround me with your love.







                            BLESSINGS IN DEATH


                            God give you hope,                   

                                                Christ is risen--

                            All is forgiven, just ask and believe.

                            The Father awaited the prodigal son;

                            a feast was prepared to welcome him home:


                            The angels are present, you're never alone.


                            All is forgiven 

                                            --let it go to the sky,

                            all anger and sorrow, all blame and regret.

                            God give you hope:

                                              Christ died and has risen,

                            all is forgiven, just ask and believe.

                            As the body dies, the spirit is freed,

                            and with your release...


                            shall come beauty and peace.



(as a song)


God give you hope,                   

                    Christ died and is risenÉ

all is forgiven, just ask and believe.


The Father awaited the prodigal son;

a feast was prepared to welcome him home:

The angels are present, you're never alone.


All is forgiven 

                --let it go to the sky,

all anger and sorrow, all blame and regret.

God give you hope:

                  Christ died and has risen,

all is forgiven, just ask and believe.


As the body dies, the spirit is freed,

and with your release,

shall come beauty and peace.


God give you hope:

                  Christ died and has risen,

all is forgiven, just ask and believe.






                         FIRST THE NATURAL, THEN THE SPIRITUAL


                         How can we know inner beauty

                         without a telling forth of outer beauty?

                         One must develop a good eye and open ears

                         before a taste comes for sublimer things

                         beyond sight and hearing, when the heart

                         cries out to awaken.

                         The outer beauty sometimes fades

                         as a value in the mind

                         as inner beauty grows

                         in preparation for the big death

                         when the whole soul slips out

                         into the essence of beauty.







                         WHEN I TAKE MY IDENTITY


                         When I take my identity

                         from the world

                         and all I project upon it from my own heart

                         I am lost

                         in the land of masks.

                         But when I know who I am

                         by the words of God

                         which come to me

                         in epiphanies of spirit

                         and in choices of faith,

                         then my heart opens

                         to the whole green-growing process

                         of becoming a man

                         with a substantial face

                         who can gaze right through

                         the empty eyes of masks

                         into the eyes of beauty

                         hidden within eyes.








                              WE ARE HERE TO SING SOUL PEACE


                              We are here to sing soul peace

                              over the dying person

                              and the beloved


                              and all the lovers and friends

                              who are gathered

                              in the name of the Holy Maker,

                              and the beautiful angels

                              who gather pilgrims

                              in their loving arms

                              and carry them safely

                              across dark seas

                              into the land

                              of deathless love.












                              WORDS OF GENTLE LEADING


                              May our words be leading

                              the parting soul safely

                              across hidden waters

                              and past life's horizons

                              with a strong company of angels,

                              and the beloved greeters

                              who love you,

                              in the cherishing

                              of the Holy Maker

                              who pardons all your trespasses

                              through sorrows and misgivings:

                              by the pouring out of His life blood,

                              in the receiving of His graces

                              in boundless mercies and unearnable blessings,

                              to receive you safely

                              into a world where there is no pain

                              nor any parting,

                              and every good-bye

                              you have spoken in love

                              shall become a joyous greeting

                              in a short matter of time,

                              in a short matter of time.













                              GOD GRANT YOU A BLESSED DEATH


                              God grant you a death

                              in the joy of this departing

                              to lands of boundless joy.

                              God wrap you in arms

                              of the love of all loves.

                              Be now in the warm arms

                              of the Mother of all motherhood,

                              the Father of all kind fathers.

                              Christ has called you

                              unto a perfect grace

                              which cleanses every wound

                              lessens each sorrow,

                              diffuses all anger,

                              soothes away pain.

                              Be now in the melting of all hardness,

                              in the full flood of sorrow's tears.

                              The God of life who has given you life

                              is calling you home.

                              He is above you

                              and below you,

                              to each side,

                              His arms beneath you,

                              His eyes upon you.

                              You are in His mind...

                              and He is perfect peace.

                              God grant to you a luminous death

                              in the bathing of His pool,

                              in the flowing of his waters,

                              in the breezes of His spirit,

                              in the safety of His cherishing.






                              God grant to you a luminous death

                              in the bathing of His

                                                 bright pool,

                              in the flowing of his

                                                 clear waters,

                              in the breezes of His

                                                 fresh spirit,

                              in the safety of His

                                                 gentle cherishing.













                         DEATH IS A LOSS AND SACRIFICE

                         (A Death Watch Chant)


                         Death is a loss and a sacrifice;

                         through it we're gathered

                         to the bosom of God.

                         It's needful to mourn,

                         for it's painful to part

                         from all that we love

                         with our body and heart.

                         But with our acceptance

                         comes the release

                         into new worlds

                         of beauty and peace.










                         RIDING THE BLACK HORSE


                         You must ride the black horse

                         into the night

                         beneath the trees

                         of cawing crows;

                         only the black horse

                         can lead to the light:

                         where it gallops

                         no one knows.

                         The rider, blindfolded,

                         enveloped in pain,

                         spurs the black stallion on,

                         though others may think

                         that the rider's insane,

                         he is galloping into the dawn.









                         A THIRST FOR LIFE


                         What is there to fear?

                         Only unloving things perish.

                         And our parting from those we have loved

                         is brief, and shall lead

                         to a joyous union again.

                         Now let your spirit fly away

                         into the land of love

                         and clear thinking.









                         THIS VISION OF THE BEAUTY OF DYING


                         The vision of the beauty of dying

                         is born in the full joy

                         of the wonder of living.








                         TERMINAL ENDINGS


                         The Bridegroom touches

                         an old woman.

                         A child Bride awakens inside.

                         The Bridegroom's shadow

                         passes over her.

                         A young beauty

                         arises from old bones.







(needs more work...)


                         Lying down

                         on a huge white breast

                         the soul sinks

                         into a primal rest.

                         It is an ever young breast

                         riding high and soft.

                         The soul sweetly sinks

                         as the body drops off.

                         Someone said that death

                         is our last great fear--

                         its not hard to die

                         when the Beloved one's near!

                         But the body but rarely

                         shall easily yield,

                         nor does weakness

                         quickly swallow up

                         the last tenacious strength:

                         We flounder and shout

                         and helplessly sink

                         into the breadth and length

                         of a boundless love

                         which has always been our Life of life,

                         (how slowly does the soul

                         become another One's wife).


                         Another walks beside us

                         holding our bridal dress;

                         another One mourns

                         in our distress;

                         another One laughs

                         and in compassion cries,

                         as another One rises

                         while this one dies.


                         Lying down on a huge white breast

                         the soul sinks

                         into a primal rest.











                         WHO CAN VISIT THE STOREHOUSE OF GRIEF?


                         Who can visit the storehouse of grief?

                         Those sullen rooms

                         growing slowly dim with death,

                         and then again... touch a familiar wall

                         and lightning flashes,

                         touch a heirloom chair

                         and shudder with remorse.

                         Family pictures are falling off the walls;

                         Grandma's chinaware keeps crashing down.

                         The tarnished mirrors of our rooms

                         glimmer with beautiful images

                         of soft hair, kind eyes, and smiles.

                         There are gray clouds

                         that unexpectedly spoil a picnic,

                         drifting from sad places

                         on dark winds...

                         moving through our dreams.

                         Some old fairy tales say

                         that we must be fully shattered

                         in chaos

                         to undo chaos.

                         This must be madness!

                         An old wive's tale.

                         Who would chose such a journey

                         to places of pain

                         in an age of advanced medications?

                         Yet, in this place alone

                         is that piano there,

                         that painter's pallet

                         this writer's desk,

                         and a back door which opens

                         to let sunshine splash through

                         onto a familiar face

                         and soft wind caress

                         a beloved one's hair.










                         A SEASON OF GRIEVING


                         There is a lean barrenness

                         in which words will not come:

                         It is the shadow side of love;

                         it is the grief of death.

                         There are seasons

                         when stiff, unfeeling branches

                         scratch listlessly

                         at a dull sky.

                         The soul slowly rolls up upon itself,

                         like a bear in hibernation,

                         to sleep with a tangle of briers

                         stuck in its belly.

                         Somewhere, outside

                         dense granite walls...

                         life passes by.






                    THERE IS A LUMINOUS DEATH



                    There is a luminous death

                    where all anger is dissolved

                    in the blue beauty of the skies

                    and in those brisk winds

                    which move in a definition

                    of perfect freedom.


                    I wish you peace

                    in God's unfathomable love...

                    which is like a rose fragrance

                    in the morning sky.


                    There is a luminous peace

                    in a deathless hope,

                    in the sure knowledge

                    that as Christ arose from the dead

                    by the power of God's compassion,

                    I too shall arise

                    young, wise, and beautiful,

                    for I am wrapt in His unfailing mercies.


                    I wish you peace

                    in God's unfathomable peace

                    which flows as the clenched fists of the soul

                    relax and open unto the softness

                    of God's breath passing through the heart.

                    Remember now how a tight rose bud

                    is slowly loosened by the green surge of life,

                    then, yielding in its perfect time,

                    opens its velvet tenderness

                    to the sun's warmth.

                    I wish you freedom from fear

                    and all bitter constrictions

                    for the sake of God and all who love you

                    and wish your full beauty

                    to come now, in the hour

                    of your birth.


                    It is time for you to realize that all is forgiven,

                    and that all hard lessons

                    of human suffering in an unjust world,

                    (this school of sin and love),

                    are completed in your embracing

                    of God's perfect forgiveness.


                    I wish you peace

                    in God's unfathomable compassions

                    that being gathered in unearnable graces

                    you might open unto a luminous death

                    and a good journey home.









                    (Snippets from Pablo Neruda)


                    Tu alma es desnuda y simple,

                    delgada como la luna,

                    minima, transparente, redonda--

                    pero eres enorme y rosada

                    con un verano de oro en sus ojos.


                    Your soul is naked and simple,

                    slender like the moon,

                    minimal, transparent, round--

                    but you are spacious and rosy

                    with a summer of gold in your eyes.


                    Tu belleza y tu pobreza...

                    las llaves son en tu boca,

                    palabres de fe y amor

                    son en tu boca.


                    Your beauty and your poverty...

                    the keys are in your mouth,

                    words of faith and love

                    are in your mouth.


                    La luz de fuego

                    es el resplandor de amor

                    y un sol dieron a tu sentidos.


                    The light of fire

                    is the splendor of love

                    and a sun poured in my senses.


                    Nadie, nadie puede evadir

                    los pasos del corazon.


                    No one--no one--

                    can evade the passings

                    of the heart.


                    Tu buscas por otro mundo

                    donde el dolor no crece;

                    un tierra de un luz dulce,

                    de un estacion abierta:

                    una tierra del luz de primavera.


                    You look for another world

                    where pain does not grow;

                    a land of a sweet light,

                    of an open season:

                    a land of the light of spring.


                    Sentir la suavidad              

                    de amor in muerte.              

                    Quiero qe vivas                 

                    mientras por tu. Yo espero!     

                    huelas el aroma del mar         

                    en un tierra de luz dulce.      


                    To feel the softness

                    of love in death.

                    I want to live

                    waiting for you. I hope!

                    smelling the aroma

                    of the sea in a land

                    of sweet light.



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