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what do you say to someone who is dying?

Not more than you should;
Not less than is needed.

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Sometimes there’s nothing to be said at all.
Tears will do nicely.
A quiet sitting by can be the best medicine of all.
Especially for those who doubt their own grasp of wisdom
in knowing the difference.

Sometimes black humor will do wonders.
Laughter – to tears, through tears – can provide precisely
the hand-hold needed
to climb the sheer face of terror
and assault dark uncertainties.

Sometimes it’s the foothold
of a poem,
a song,
a reading.

Sometimes it’s a prayer.
Not performed,
but felt
groaned
oozed.

Midwives for the dying, we are,
for what is death but
birth?

To avert our eyes
to fidget
to nervously shift one foot to the other
to pretend that we’re not staring at death
is like pretending a woman is not really in labor as she screams.

Midwives for the dying, we are.
Helping them breathe through the contractions,
freeing them to find the most comfortable position
to find their own way
rather than shackling them with ours.

But we are midwives inside the womb;
we don’t see the head crowned;
new life isn’t released into our hands;
it is a birth away from us
not towards us,
a birth into other waiting Hands
to receive
to swaddle
to name
to nurse
to bring home
to release into a new world bursting with unimaginable possibilities.

No tears on that side
that side we cannot see
at least no tears like these.

Only here
on this side
this dark womb-y side
as we are left holding a bloody severed cord
cut by other Hands
we judge cruel
as we wail at these dark, confining
walls.

Waiting.
Wailing.
Waiting

for our own birth.

War Drums_Marten

or, as suggested by my friend Lisa’s work, sometimes war drums will do nicely too…and paint

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in haverings, Poetry

 

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