April again, and Easter – shortening days, and leaves falling from the trees. Until good autumn rains arrive, everything around here is dry, sere, and apparently dead, as the seasons turn towards winter…a good time to share this poem…
I would dance the dance of Life
The dance of Death,
The dance of Life again,
Also for you.
I would sing the song of Life,
The song of Death;
And sing flesh back to your bones,
Sing you together over the campfire,
Sing over the ashes until you rise,
Rise from the ashes as the phoenix rises,
And you run away into the morning mist.
This is a work by Sam Jinks, “Still Life (Pieta) 2007, which I saw at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra in March. It is smaller than life, though utterly lifelike, and portrays the artist with the body of his late father. It was in a small room to the side of the main exhibition, and invited quiet contemplation of life, death and the whole damn thing.
The poem was in part influenced by reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes classic book, “Women Who Run With the Wolves”, which uses traditional stories from many cultures to illuminate the inner lives of women. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.