Part 5 – death-rebirth



I do not hear
I sense it

The coffin empty

As I see nothing
Nothing sees me

An answer shaping

The question
Turns my wings


Into silence
Screaming squeezing

Sucking why

Does stone become
Sound that freezes

Blood colour
Absence melts

Moon’s outline
In daytime blue



How sun is danger
Kissing too

A whisper
Spraying light

Breath knows
Lung’s weakness

(How to return)

Smudges endings

(how to depart)

Into accordion dreams
Playing solitude

Weaving feather song
Into turquoise flight

Erasing landscapes
Real and not

Beneath above


DeathRebirth- A piece of music

Picture by Stephen Linsteadt

Poem by Dean Pasch

Music by Sandra Holstein



On earth there is no death. … No need to be afraid of death at seventeen nor yet at seventy. Reality and light exist, but neither death nor darkness. All of us are on the sea-shore now. And I am one of those who haul the nets when a shoal of immortality comes in. ~ Arseny Tarkovsky
1. To Bring Forth the Yew
The thought of jellied sperm, like a splash of egg whites
now hardened, now brushed with light, the Great
Cakemaker commands us but when does the soul
enter the body? Whitman said Sex contains all, bodies, souls,
meanings, proofs, purities. Impossible. I wandered
the stars until the call to return was so distant I forgot
its sound. In time I left the country of Silence
and opened the door. Desire drew me back
or was it loneliness? Isn’t birth the soul creating
the body into its mirror – its pains manifest
in the mangled hand, in the eyes that carry its caverns?
And beauty – that seducer of all Things, I wish
it be born in me. I bring forth the yew, the rivers
I was, trails I walked barefoot in the rain.
Now that I am, in body, some body, somehow
known again, I must stop cursing what brought me here.
Look, someone has turned the world upside down for me.
Stars are beneath my feet, a canopy of trees above.
Even the ocean is a migrating bird. Someone decided
which way was up before we knew that gravity is relative.
The grave I eschew because I no longer want the earth to hold me.
2. Time
These hours always ask for our forgiveness. O’ what can we tell them? …
The hours that dress you each day in iron. The end times will end.
I see the drowned child and ask “how long does suffering last?” God oh
god, or gods or woman, creator, beast. If man was made
in Your image did you look for pain to feel alive?
3. Bluedoll
The soul entered and the eyes opened. Skin shifted

like a daytime moon, pitted in its afterthoughts but alive

all the same. The eyes were made of robin-eggs, shaped

of water, both sinking and afloat. Lashes were thin brushes

of cobalt and the legs wiggled wide in their bow. A woman

gave her breast to it and it drank and drank. Lifetimes waiting

for a mother’s pool it could reflect in without drowning.

It touches its cheek to her sternum to feel the last of stone.
4. Photograph – Third Eye Recalls its Lives
A boy leans on a stump
             of granite, holds a branch
in his hand.
             It is a Hebraic candle,
a devil’s foot,
             two smoking fingers
and an opposable thumb.
             Temponaut, he is the one
who left them
             slumbering near the lilacs.
Left them rainless.
             He returns to the same field
where he died.
             Memories he is unsure are his.
The wooden door
             he squatted behind
when father came home.
             A bisque ribbon beneath
the bureau from a deceased wife.
             He wonders if his third eye
can be closed.
5. The Child In You Goes On
You were golden this time. A woman sings
Fais dodo, Colas, mon petit frère.
Fais dodo, t’auras du lolo.
Maman est en haut
Qui fait du gâteau.
Papa est en bas
Qui fait du chocolat.
Fais dodo, Colas, mon petit frère.
Fais dodo, t’auras du lolo.
Go to sleep, Colas my little brother
Go to sleep, you will have your milk
Mommy is upstairs
Making some cakes
Daddy is downstairs
Making hot cocoa
Go to sleep, Colas my little brother
Go to sleep, you will have your milk.
And the sunflowers fill your room
with their slow honey and dark eyes.
You peak through the crib bars
and see the last of the day setting
on the mountain. What you were
takes its shape in the clenching
of your small fist, the opening.
* Fais dodo, Colas, Cajun folk song.

LUZ – A piece of music

Picture by Dean Pasch

Poem by Lois P. Jones

Music by Mauricio Venegas-Astorga



My Parents Dying in the Rain

They wait for the rain —
Not for its wetness
But its dark grayness

It covers their flight,
I would go out
And try to stop them,
Bring them back
To where I think
They belong,
Here in this house,
Sitting, old before the TV,
Watching Wheel of Fortune,
Vanna’s blue gown
A whirl of skies —

Or sitting there
On the patio
Like fishermen,
Their coffee growing cold
Beside them

But no,
They leave in the rain,
So I can’t see them leaving

I will understand
That this is right
Understand this
After they leave me

Like the sea
On a moonless night
Growing away from me,

Its waves moving first toward me
And then away, toward me
And then away

Without You in the Lost & Found – A piece of music

Picture by Dean Pasch

Poem by John Guzlowski

Music by Ben Fischer


Death I-Part5

I’m In Love

I’m in love with a plate,
a thing of beauty,
a plate made of gelatine.

It contains within
the sum of all possibility.
An everlasting plate.

Yet I must let it go,
in order to create
the new.

Kherpri – 53 Fragments Edit – A piece of music

Picture by Katerina Dramitinou

Poem by Josephine Dickinson

Music by Timur Iskandarov



After Many a Summer

After many a summer dies the swan
The maiden too, and then the fawn
Rebirth, rejoice
You have no choice
Sing it now, in a high clear voice
Rejoice, rejoice
Long past midnight comes the dawn
When all the stars and the moon have gone
The clouds creep in
And paint the sky
Yet no one thought
To wonder why
And the gleam has left
The maiden’s eye
The fawn to doe
The swan to die
The old maid’s left
To wonder why
Youth and love
Have passed her by
And all her dreams are laced within
A single sigh
Rebirth rejoice
Sing it now in a high clear voice
Rejoice, rejoice

Steps II – A piece of music

Picture by Adam Brobjorg

Poem by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

Music by Dorothee Eberhardt



Your First Birthday

We share our visit
with red carnations,
and white roses, dad

filling pots with water,
cutting stems
and talking, always talking.

Manna and me arranging.
Dylan waiting
to place his heart.

Photographs to share
with absent family.
Today was your birthday,

the first here,
the grave turf still healing.

In The Night I See Light – A piece of music

Picture by Dean Pasch

Poem by Kevin Reid

Music by Steve Karn



Agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile

This is a meditation on death.

It starts with the agapanthus, a short
agapanthus tucked under a tall agapanthus:
perhaps cousins of the same color,
perhaps a different species. Both a tropical
azure blue.

Wait, death will come, but first the one flower
of the short agapanthus hatches like a robin chick,
pecking at its green pod, which hangs on
like a shard of eggshell or the egg tooth. I can
almost hear it chirping.

We saw doves lay eggs in a basket on the porch,
the mother and father sitting on them
and hatching them. None of the hatchlings survived.

The individual spikes of flowers of the tall agapanthus
at first almost glow, but in only a few weeks
they droop and fade; and the same
with the short agapanthus.

And a butterfly sits in the tall agapanthus,
let’s say it’s a Monarch although it could be
the smaller, duller Viceroy.

But let’s say it’s a Monarch, king of butterflies.
It twitches its wings, then folds them so that the butterfly
is just a line barely seen while it sips agapanthus nectar.
Then it opens its showy wings and lifts high
into the realm of the sky.

I have seen crowds of migrating Monarchs cling to eucalyptus,
a brilliant orange and black display in Monterey,
and some drop laconically to the ground for a sip of dew.

And some haven’t enough energy to rise back up.
This is a meditation on death.

There are four stages to the butterfly’s development
and each one is a new life, a resurrection of sorts.
And each life is very short, as all life is short.
Even ours. It is all relative.

And then, if the butterfly makes it through its four lives
it mates and dies. And the eggs hatch. And the cycle
begins again.

Death – A piece of music

Picture by Eric Armitage

Poem by Jane Blue

Music by Cornelia Pasch



cosmic interloper

this dress
skeleton with skin
i gladly forfeit towards a new adventure

landing on cities all over the universe
i have seen the crystal cathedrals you dream of
silver cord holds fast
will snap you back to base camp
another life does beckon

i have loved your human kind
this garden path a wrinkle in time
i am not afraid to leave it behind
my spirit yearns to fly with more of its own.

Drink for the Dead – A piece of music

Picture by Katerina Dramitinou

Poem by Kevin M. Hibshman

Music by Timur Iskandarov



(  )

what will be buried under the rootless
stagger of stars? Not you or I. That
sticky dust was just a one time home.
I still live there but you are gone,
except for the night shadow memories
gnawing at my dreams, delivered
of y( )our pain.

exhale and resurrect – A piece of music

Picture by Dean Pasch

Poem by Petra Whiteley

Music by Amandus Schaap




whoever said, nothing is carved in stone,
never visited the graveyard full of flowering

rock newly carved, and old granite—petals
faded and leaning—ready to fall to the ground.

After thirty days we check that the clouds
of mourning read out loud have not stained

the setting stone, that the dead remain dead,
held down by geological history and time, rocks

torn from the ground weighing them, keeping
them from rising up again to claim the messiah

and all the ancestors and descendants.
They scream their names out loud for those

who forgot and whisper soft condolences to
those who remember when blood pumped,

breath laughed, and eyes sparked—
shades of joy for each of us, in our turn.

Steps III – A piece of music

Picture by Steve Karn

Poem by Michael Dickel

Music by Dorothee Eberhardt




Silence. Silencio. Keep schtum.
Chit chat verboten.
Let all noise be gone.
The great bronze gong made still with trembling fingers
firm thumbs.

All I have an ear for is the mermen grieving-
silence beyond belief; the diamond sort:
that old reported quiet of our carbon grief,
those vast blubbery creatures blubbing mutely
seem not so far removed from us and our
simian fussing.
At the seaside. Our birth canal. Our hour.

no-one’s been emboldened yet
to laugh, to barf, to chuck-up prayers,
to dance, by chance, with the ghosts of the gothic
choral noises in five parts.

I would. I should, drop a pebble in this pond
of desperately gilt despond
to paint what lies beyond beyond in ripples, stippled
saints. No Pointillist complaints from them save
for horrendous martyrdoms that drum da drum.
The Pontiff’s at Christ’s stained glass feet
too overawed to confess- their unfair muteness complete.
The melted sand beyond all understanding.

Women from the corvidae clan- high heels, high hats,
taller than a man; their veils a way of disguising deceit.
Defeat and embittered beaks cleaned of road-kill.
And roses red as deep as blood. The blood line
quivering. Ill from the scissoring.
You- or is it me- in the elaborate barque of ebony
or just a mere bark canoe
being lowered into one perversion of eternity.

Read me- this profoundly tutting me- utterly powerless.
A bead of death commingling with my passion’s sweat.
Alive and dead I am.
what dead man could survive this arch pretense?
I find a paddle and start to paddle. Glad. Glad. Glad
to be going on the orbit of souls.
The river fast flowing to where it kisses the sky
high above Karnak.

This new comet was once tested for age deafness-
sealed into a soundproofed booth.
No sound to be heard
other than the absurdity of being me.

In there- much like in here, I listened to
my first experience of sheer bliss-
thinking immediately of death and afterdeath.
How final breathlessness
delivers us to an absolute silence.
Eight breves of nothing being played by instruments.
Even the heart staves being evenly quiet.

Death is this riot of nothingness
still, unfortunately, light years distant from a home.

Hush little baby don’t you cry
mummy and daddy are going to try.
Of course. Of course. Oaths have been sworn.
The lies all ritualised.

Divorce a distant phenomenon you both scorn.

procession – A piece of music

Picture by Stephen Linsteadt

Poem by Chris Madoch

Music by Stephen Karn


Turning Time to Flower

Make The Old Masters Modern

Left foot gone. Ten days left. *

What was that painting?

Ferdinand and Eugéne
so fidgety,
such poor models.

But Victorine
Ah! There was a beauty.
Weren’t you Victorine.
Do I have you to thank?
Was Tabes dorsalis your canvas
for my desire?

Those bathers, how they inspired
Antonin and I, that day.
Cotton clung to wet skin,
light absorbed, refracted
in soaked frivolity.

Where is poor Antonin now?
Victorine? Giorgione?

Ah! Giorgione was the one.
He lived skin. Ate light and
allegory. A picnic?
Yes, lunch or something related.

She looked out of the light
at me. Directly. Serenly.
Innocence painted her pose
those days. All I saw
were possibilities. And paint.

Make the old masters modern.
Take them out of the studio
into the open air. This was it,
this was my vision.
How I loved the trees, their shade
and green rapture. Nature
calling through the centuries.

I listened. I saw mid tones
disappear. I disrobed our beloved
Salon and they rejected me, but I,
Edouard Manet, pursued my Muse.

Look at me now. No left foot.
Thin as a paint brush and
sight, fading. Life fading. Memory
fading like the light at the end
of a days painting.

So much more I hoped
for; just one more evening
at Folies-Bergère.
What barmaids they have.

I am dying.
I know this. I can barely hold
this pen. This thought. This life.

My paintings tell what?
That I lived, painted, felt Nature
as a bird feels flight,
or a basket feels its weave?

I dressed my young brother, my brother-
in-law, but not Victorine. Her nakedness
was a joy to mix colours to. The brushes
loved her. I loved her.

Was it worth it? This pain says no,
but something beyond pain,
above doubt, takes me back
to that Luncheon on the grass;
and I feel their looks
still. Her gaze, his suggestion,
her wet cold cotton and
my little brother’s concern.

We must all die.
Through our art we endure.

* Manet’s gangrous left foot was amputated eleven days before his death from Tabes dorsalis.

Please Don’t Blame Yourself, Or Each Other- A piece of music

Picture by Alexandra Eldridge

Poem by Dean Pasch

Music by Ben Fisher


One thought on “Part 5 – death-rebirth

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