As I lay dying

I am enveloped in the embrace of the earth; its sweet scent invades me,
the whistling pines remain still, yearning for a gentle breeze, the moonlight entangled in their limbs.
My soul clamours inside my body, a bird confined in a gilded cage,
aching for release, to throw of the chains of this world, to escape the constraints of this meagre existence and join the beloved.

Do not cry for me, I am not leaving, only returning, death is only a veil,
shielding the paradise that lies beyond.
The body is merely a pitcher, retaining the eternal wine of the soul,
Be drunk on it, be seduced by it, for this is the wine of divine grace.
This world was nothing but an illusion, this life nothing more than a diversion,
a cruel separation from the beloved, unfulfilled and incomplete.

All through life, we seek the divine, hunting for his echo,
We scour the ends of the earth, never hearing his one true whisper.
Searching for the keys when the door was always open.
Never knowing, it is he, who is searching with us,
He lives within us, a rose growing in the recesses of the heart.

Look inside yourself, you will find the gem embedded in the mountain of the body.
For whatever you seek already resides within you.
I am at peace now; I have untied the knot of this world,
To unite with my sculptor, the moulder of forms,
From dust we are made and to dust we shall return.

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3 thoughts on “As I lay dying”

  1. Suhail, this poem is great! I really like your use of imagery and metaphor, in describing the human body as a sort of cage or container of the soul, returning to the great stream of life when we die. I must say though, I found the message that life is ‘a cruel separation from the beloved, unfulfilled and incomplete’ depressing, especially in saying that dying allows us to ‘be at peace’ and ‘untie the knot of this world.’ Individually our lives are surely insignificant as we all inevitably progress towards our final destination, but is there not something great in being alive in comparison to the void of death?

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  2. I agree with Zac – I did find your message a bit severe when I read it the first time. And then, in my second reading, when you so beautifully described the sweet scent of earth’s embrace, the breeze whistling through the pines and especially ‘the moonlight entangled in their limbs’ (what a gorgeous image!) I thought that maybe you wanted to express a yearning for a fullness of this exquisite beauty through immortality. Did you die at the end? Or did you succeed in some kind of transcending of the finite? In any case, well done. There is lots to explore here.

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  3. I have to say that I agree with the criticism here, in retrospect it does take too dim a view of our lives which are unimaginably small in the life of the universe but can still be imbued with meaning and perhaps the only meaning there ever will be.

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