YEARNING FOR THE OTHER SIDE
Don’t add my name yet to the names of the dead on the wall. Don’t carve their letters edged in gilt on a crypt.---Luisa A. Igloria, “That shore from which we first pushed off, how far away is it now?”, Via Negativa, 04-25-12
When death and dying are lumped together
as “kicking the bucket,” there seems little
reason for a lachrymose ritual that will cost
a lifetime’s nest egg. And yet, and yet.
A send-off at sea is as good as any–one
is flushed off the starboard to become part
of whence life came, or where it ends. Debris.
Do not send for whom the bell tolls, some
tired man holding a ready bucket of waste,
warned the unready, unprepared, or untidy.
Inexorably, inevitably, the bell takes its toll.
Like a confusing game, kicking the bucket
is nothing but a tiresome waiting game.
Let the jasmine bloom where they may,
when they may; no one has yet come back
to say if they, too, were enriched by manure
from the overturned pail, nor say, when the day
the game ends, they had no bucket of waste.
—Albert B. Casuga
This is Poem #28 in my poem-a-day project to mark National Poetry Month (April).