Thursday, December 15, 2005

Death, the Unholy

Long before he should have,
he eluded decisions
about his death.
He did not want to tend
a mirage of promised
and unimagined
pleasures
when he knew
there were none, only
indecipherable
directions
to a non-existent
thoroughfare.

Now,
he looks back
on un-
filled spaces,
especially those
that held the word: Yes,
and in no uncertain
terms, he says:
Death is un-holy.
Un-holy. Pro-
fane.
In its lack.


-Esther Altshul Helfgott

This poem came about as a result of Rebecca Louden's exercise to do an Opposite Poem. She instructs: Take someone else's poem, and for each word, write what you think is its complete opposite. I began by following her directions and using Pesha Gertler's poem, The Healing Time. As I was working though, an idea emerged which felt more important to follow through on than word-play. Since my husband's Alzheimer's and death are on my mind, what evolved was the unholiness of Death in the face of Pesha's holy holy, the holiness of life. But now, as I write, I realize that it is Alzheimer's that is un-holy, and not Death.

3 Comments:

Blogger Peter said...

Esther: Nice exercise. Tough topic.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Puah said...

Wow what an exercise. I'm going to try it as soon as I have time. Again, I'm impressed by the filling-in of the "unfilled spaces."

12:47 PM  
Blogger mmarzipan said...

i will try as well...tough one...and you're right...death is holy..the process of dying is sacred...as viewed from the bedside of a dying loved one you see the transformation..the shedding of life's force...the mask of eternity you are graced enough to witness.

5:20 PM  

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