“BlackWhiteSpiral” by Kurt
(Used with permission: sumo.fm)
I sit on the plaza steps overlooking the beach, taking it all in. wind-whipped waves create high drama, luring visitors to the edge for a closer look. Teenagers hang out in high spirits as they stake out a place on the steps in anticipation of the evening’s rock concert. Dogs cavort and children chase kites. Three young men wander behind the plaza, to the vault created by the steps. Three alert crows follow them and vigil outside. Soon, a man enters the vault, carrying a large piece of driftwood like a battering ram. His sinister demeanor does not bode well for the boys. I follow. Upon entering, the scene immediately accosts my senses. The man has brutally battered the three teens. Their bodies instantly disintegrate, leaving only three drops of blood on the floor. The man knocks me flat as he flees from the vault. The three crows fly in and surround the blood drops. Each crow takes one drop in its beak and flies out. I run out into the plaza, desperate to see where they take the blood. They land on the opposite side of the plaza, and drop the blood on the floor before an old Buddhist nun who sits in meditation. She stretches her arms in a wide arch around the blood and blows on it. The spray from her breath shapes the first arch of the spiral, then the next, and the next, until new life has a new path. Unable to sustain the mesmerizing effect of the process for long, I wake up, reaching for breath.
These interrupted lives will not see the
Thirtieth chamber this time around.
They have morphed into mere mortal vestiges,
Immortality a dim dream,
Shelled lives reshell,
And Yin becomes Yang.
The winged clairvoyants carry the remnants
To rest and wait in the
Genes of their souls, until buoyed on the
Breath of Expectation,
© rita h kowats
This is a dream I had a few years ago. I remembered it when I saw the art work of the nautilus shell. At the time of the dream, that image was strong and insistent. It took a couple of days to let it meander around my unconscious. As I entered the hypnagogic state I consciously re-entered the dream. It took me to the same place with only a few fresh nuances. The theme of immortality came in a meditation on the art work. That bright light at the core of the shell conceived the poem.
One year after the unexpected death of my sister I still step gingerly. When we grieve we learn that all we CAN do is step out. If we step in harmony with the pain, we become sure-footed. The pain transforms from foe to friend, and we endure in spite of the loss.
My spiritual practice has been intentionality. I ask for the grace to stay conscious, to recognize each wave of grief and to honor my humanity by feeling it. It has also helped me to be aware of my sister’s continued presence in a new way. I have prayed for her spirit as she transitions into this new and unknown existance. And I have practiced letting her go.
Two gifts have emerged from this experience: reinforcement that the ice holds, and realization that we are not in control. Now I try to live into these truths, and to be in solidarity with others who grieve.