Here a poem which resonates with me today. It’s two days after a dear Buddhist Sangha friend, Brenda Birchenough died. ‘The Deer’ speaks of sitting with the dying which I’ve been doing for the past week. And before that there has been anticipation. Dear Brenda has spread her wings and taken off into the bright light of the ‘sun’. This short piece below came in an email which fits the moment perfectly.
I now have the impression of them (parents) having moved on and out into huge, sunlit spaces. I think of dragonflies, that spend years crawling in the mud at the bottom of a pond, and then one day just leave it all behind, climbing a stalk into the air; split their skins, and emerge winged, to take off into the sun. All the old life completely past and done.
January. Empty days.
The deer, hidden among the trees,
don’t come out any more
to look for the cold, fallen apples on her lawn.
She lies there, not moving;
only her lips, only her hands –
two snails wanting water,
two dry leaves, hardly stirred by her breath.
Over the lawn, the rain,
a cobweb in the uncertain light,
and last autumn’s apples, never picked.
She lies there, not speaking;
only, It hurts
only, Leave me now
And the deer, in the early dawn,
don’t come looking for her fruit.
They hide among the trees,
while she dreams, and dreams,
through falling threads of rain,
of ancient summers rich with apples,
and her hands freighted with gold.
By Mark Rowan
Gathered in groups the Deer remain. They stay and get on with their lives, then for no apparent reason, flick their tails and move off. Still, then away. As I have been, with the spare spaces tending to be filled up with one thing and another.
This post is for a couple of people I know, one in Canada and the other in the Netherlands, who are nearing the end of their lives and are in extremity. Do ‘move off’ when the moment comes, knowing that you are never alone in the deepest sense.