Here’s where you’ll stand at the head and at the feet. Your cheeks will be wet, keep nothing in reserve. Have your song, a simple descent where the last note catches and breaks. And poetry, a few lines will do — how the world’s reduced, lessens the light, the sea’s brilliance blown down (though never say ‘I’ instead become the tears and the breath and the breath). Practice hands in the dirt then fist at the sky (that ancient glyph) at He who takes again and again.

Untie your hair, your scarf, your shirt. Take censure and stones on your head and on your feet. Your scars (those you inherit and those you bring) are a mirror to the world blazing the last of the light.

Sweep past supermarket bouquets and easy condolence, bruise hands that would help but restrain again and again.

Ready roar for a requiem to rouse the indifferent dead and for those who’ve gone ahead prepare however you can to be overwhelmed and to overwhelm —

and (for all of us) balance the remains and the remains.

Image: Mourner, suspected to represent Isis mourning Osiris. 18th dynasty, 1550 – 1295 BC. Terra cotta a small statuette thought to be Osiris, public domain c/- Wikimedia Commons. A reworked piece from last year.

And here’s Gabriel Faure’s totally uplifting Requiem Op. 48

2 thoughts on “Lament

  1. Your vivid instructions are time-honoured, Peter. It is just that … well, following instructions on to how to express what is in one’s heart, appears to be slightly … self-defeating. It does seem clear that, soon enough, the world will be on fire, self-inflicted punishment will be unnecessary, all remains will be of one kind only, and balance will finally be achieved. (A wonderful read.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve, as always. Glad you liked – This piece was inspired by an article on lament singing in the Karelia region of Finland, where there’s a tradition of ‘professional’ women mourners. Having now been to several funerals where everything was pretty contained, I thought some instructions might be useful. Peter.

      Liked by 1 person

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