"In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away." -Shing Xiong *** "Do not go where the path may lead; instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson *** "Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget." -G. Randolf *** "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -E.M. Forster *** "Imagnination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world." -Albert Einstein *** Defintion of Suburbia: A place where they cut down trees and name streets after them. -(Unknown, found on sticker) :p *** "A lie goes halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." -Winston Churchill***"Love is the irresistible desire to be desired irresistibly." -Louis Ginsberg ***"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -Martin Buber

Monday, February 28, 2011

Somewhere Between Winter and Spring (a long poem, unfinished)

Somewhere Between Winter and Spring

The rain on the windows did pelt
And thunder crashed overhead
On that dreary cold night
Somewhere between winter and spring
The streets running with snowmelt
And mud crawling with suffocated worms
I lay with covers pulled up to my head
Wide awake, filled with fright

I remember a bright lighting flash
Streaming into the glass pane
Temporarily burning my sight
And upon which it did clear
I realized in this room I was not alone
He was a tall, leering shadow
The doom of his arrival
Accented by an earsplitting thunder crash
To my bedside he began to draw near

I wanted to ask him who he was
Wanted to throw my head back and scream
But my throat was dry, my tongue too thick
My voice sewn shut with fear’s seam
I wanted to race out the door
Out into the lawn that was rain-slick
Yet my legs were numb
Seemingly rooted to the mattress forevermore

He came closer till over me he loomed
I cowered under my sheets atremble
And as lightning again lit up the room
A saw him in ghastly detail for a second split
A long black cloak covered all skin
The hood casting his face into dark void
The cloth was threadbare, ripped, and tattered
An aura rolled off of him, suffocating and thick
The brightness of the lightning flash
Seemed to be lost in the air around him
Absorbed by his presence; shattered
Suddenly I knew the identity
That lay within the hood shadow; hidden

The figure that stood before me
Was the subject of nightmares
Between the young and old he did not separate
The bringer of grief and loss
Suffering he could both endow and abate
He is not God, he is not Satan
Rather the one who brings you to the judgment
That decides between the houses of the two
On that stormy night so many years ago
Somewhere between winter and spring
Death came to visit me in my abode

Knowing who wore the cloak; concealed
Did not ease my rising terror
Only increased it tenfold
Vanishing into my mattress now greatly appealed
My life flashed before me
So vivid and rapidly I thought I’d be blinded
I saw every fall, every loss, every sin
Tears welled and fell sparkling to my sheet
Now that Death had come to take me away
I had a good guess at which house I’d be placed in

Here on this raging turbulent night
Not quite winter, not quite spring
I would die alone, with no one to grieve for me
It would take them at least a week
To find me here cold and lifeless
They would assume I died in my sleep
By a cause unknown, mysterious, and deep
My ambitions and plans ahead
Have lost their potential, are now pointless
Just like I’m about to be; dead
Humbled, scared, worthless
My soul has been laid open to the being
Who looks down at me with an unseen stare
He can see the ugly pitiful thing I truly am
My skin prickles beneath his relentless glare

As I lay sniveling, he spoke
In a voice like no other
A tone that falls between mystique and horror
 I not only heard it; I felt it, rattling deep in my bones
Making my heart leap and my organs feel like stones
It was chilling, reaching down to my core
Yet somehow soothing; a hinted promise
Of the lovely rest after a long journey
The relief of a concluded war
His voice sounded like many talking together
Yet also strong and solid, like one

“You know who I am,
And you know my purpose,
But do you know why here I have stopped
On this dismal hopeless night?”
In a voice that shook, fearful and weak
I said “You have been sent to take me
My fire you have chosen to smite!”
He remained silent for a long while
Pondering my answer so meek
The only noise the drum of rain
My pitiful sobs and sniffs
The rattle of the hungry wind on the pane

“You have never stood up for someone else
You have never bettered someone’s life
You rejected those who loved you
You have caused less good than strife
You are a coward, a plague to this land
You have ideas, but never pursue
Because you are the essence of sloth
You ignore the matters at hand
You care for yourself, first and foremost
You are a proud man, but have nothing to boast.

Every hour I take spirits to their final rest
I claim men whose lives burned bright
Who lived their dreams fearlessly
And for the weak they did fight
I take woman with more beauty in their step
Than the flight of an angel’s grace
Who gave everything they could to others
With children that they selflessly did raise
I claim old tired elders
Weak and fading, yet surrounded by family
Who they love unconditionally
The love they receive back well deserved
I take helpless infants from the cradle
And toddlers from their play
Wasting a sea of potential
That could have been lived out someday

If I could choose the doors upon which I knock
If I had a matter in the say
I would come to the homes
Of more people who live like you
Who will not be missed, who will not be remembered
Because they were too self-centered
To ever leave a footprint on this world
I would let the worthy thrive
And you weak cowards die.

However, child, your time has not yet come,
Tomorrow you shall see the rise of the sun
So you must be wondering; Death has come why?”

I had no answer to this question he posed
I was to stunned to continue my tears
He had picked me apart; left me exposed
Forced the truth down my throat
That I had been avoiding for years
The great relief I felt from the words
He said that claimed my life’s spare
Was short-lived and crushed
Cast into an infinite pit of despair
The Reaper, who sent spirits on their way
Claiming many types of people on many types of days
Must be an excellent judge of character
And had just deemed me worthless
More worthy of death than life

His long cloaked arm reached to me
The black thread peeling back
To reveal a hand of shocking white bone
Glimmering like feral eyes in the dark
I instinctually shied away
A horrified cry bubbling in my throat
His voice took an angered tone
As he began to say

“Child you are foolish to fear me
Death comes to everything living
You cannot escape my grasp
I may not be taking you tonight in this stormy melee
But someday I shall come
Ready or not my scythe shall bite
You may as well forsake your fear now
For together we shall spend this night.”

My mind so numb with fear
I thought I might faint
I reached for his skeletal hand
As my warm skin brushed cold bone
A shock ran through me, an icy spear
With poison my blood seemed taint
And images of graveyards my mind did paint
His touch was a plunge into freezing water
A thousand needles pressing down
The scratch of a nail on a board
My teeth ground together
With a jarring force
My heart kicked into panic
Every instinct screaming to pull away

I cried out as his fingers, gruesome and grotesque
Closed on my wrist and squeezed
Harsh, powerful, painful
Across my skin gooseflesh teased
...To be continued
The idea of writing a poem about death struck me one day in English class after reading an Emily Dickinson poem about taking a walk with the Reaper, combined with my fascination with the concept and cycle of death. I spent my next class, Trigonometry, jumping between taking notes and writing this. It was a thrill to write, and I can't wait to continue with it. I'm not quite sure what Death intends to do with our pitiful character yet, but I will figure it out. This poem, in my eyes, has a similiar concept to A Christmas Carol. Our character is undergoing a supernatural experience that will change his life.
The message of this poem is to not sit idly and let life pass you by... because you never know when Death will come knocking and it will be too late. I also hope to convey my belief that death is a natural part of life and should not be feared, but embraced.
In the words of Blue Oyster Cult- "Don't fear the reaper."