Friday, April 08, 2005

Happy Friday

It is Venus day, folks, and just hours away from Happy Hour. So while I'm still of sound mind and body, let me get a few things off my chest.

The pope is buried. Finally. I couldn't stay up to watch the whole funeral, but I'm taking everyone's word that he has been laid in the grotto under the Bascillica. I've ridden a whole lot of emotions since his death vigil, a week ago: admiration, sadness, relief, among others. But as the days wore on, and mourners snaked into the Bascillica for one last look at the man who endeared himself to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike over his 26-year papacy, I asked myself, "I wonder what he smells like?"

He'd been reposed on the bier--unembalmed, for almost a week. His face, I noticed,had become ashier as the days went by. Mottling was visible in his ear lobes, his nose, and chin. Health concerns aside, I suppose this is the best way to witness--should any occur--saintly post-mortem attributes such as sweet and floral odors exuding from the body, and the absence of decay. And you know there will be people who come away with those very reports. Perhaps the miracle happens in the minds and the senses of the grieving pilgrims, rather than manifesting from or around the holy corpse.

And this brings me to this week's poem--just like I promised. I'm inclined to believe that death has become impatient with the whole 'get 'em in threes' arrangement, and has been gathering us up in ever increasing clusters. So after a day of dying, in a week of dying, in a year of dying, in this season of dying, in this culture of death, I present The Bells. It's not a new poem, but it suits the mood. Have a good weekend y'all.

The Bells

The fruit is ripe,
the husk is yellow--
this is the pain of death.

A pond has settled
in my throat.
It grows white lilies
under rasping toads.
I break my body
against the wall, the stone
partition between Earth
and Heaven.

I've turned deaf
to those in vigil
for the distraction
of the bells that call
me to them--
it's almost time.
This is the pain of death.

The air is sweet
with sun-steeped violets
the warm incense
of decathexis.

The bells peal
in my honor.
They're singing brighter--
I won't be late.
Closer now to those bells;
I am so close to music.

Cindy St. Onge


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