Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fascinating Rhythm

Just before that final breath,
memories will circle your heart with song—
memories in harmony,
in counterpoint,
in dissonance, and sweet release.
Memories take measured steps
on a pebbled path round your heart and they sing—
accompanied by flute, or brass, or drum, or bell.
Your memories move toward a sacred threshold
to cross into the sanctuary of truest you.

Not everyone gets the orchestra.
Some death is accompanied by silence,
or the thin wailing of lament.
Some hear tinny music from TV sitcoms and laugh-tracks,
finally understanding that this will be the score of an
endless hell.

Others, whose memories are complicated and messy,
all thrashing and struggle to leave the womb,
these hear something new, 
something aleatorical,
maybe instruments playing jazz riffs
off the unsteady rhythm of their suffering.

How do I know this? You may well wonder.
I’ve circled round the dying often enough
and listened,

with my ear pressed to a heart gone still.

                                 Mel Torme sings "Fascinating Rhythm."  

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