Backlit by the luminosity

Of memories,

The figure gazes into the unknown.

An unknown of darkness and light,

Of planets and stars.

Of galaxies and universes.

Of protons and electrons,

The possibilities seem endless.

After the crematorium’s blaze, what?

Ashes scattered,

Green growth, floral array,

Some small brown scurrying thing,

All him.

And then in some far distant time,

Would he be cold; inert,

Or lit in nova’s hues, expansive,, expanding,

Scattered into the sphere

of a dozen distant suns.

To drift, to fuse, to become

Growth in other colors, spores,

Some small blue scurrying thing.

Or red, or orange, or colors not imagined.

I wrote this several years ago and submitted it to Asimov's poetry editor.  I received a rejection telling me that it was sweet, but not what they were looking for.  I'm not sure whether I ever published it here or on Open Salon.  I don't think I had ever had anything I wrote called sweet.

Views: 107

Comment by koshersalaami on December 15, 2017 at 6:24am

Who is this about?

Jews don't cremate, so I have no experience with this. The crematoria we have experience with are utterly different. 

Comment by J.P. Hart on December 15, 2017 at 8:25am

rather a /Yeti SETI/ uncertain if gerrymandered college educated women would be inspired

Comment by Anna Herrington on December 15, 2017 at 8:44am

Sweet?  That's an interesting comment. Interesting poem theme, Rodney.

(although maybe less downer a comment than kosh's.  ; ))

This is the kind of poem I would read several times before thoughts and feelings about it make it to words...

and I guess I'd rather imagine floating off to blend with a few sun rays than think about worms crawling around...

Right after my parents' cremations, years and years apart, all of us 'children' had 3 nights in a row of clear and colorful dreams. Dad died first, mine were all sailing dreams of us together (he died sailing), then mom all those years later, in my three dreams she knew she was gone but not ready to leave quite yet and kept wondering why she felt so light in one, in another, why she was so disoriented. The last dream she kissed me with cold dead lips and I freaked out, yelled at her she was dead - in my three siblings' dreams, she was cleaning 'to get ready to go.'

I, for one, was haunted for years by those dreams. 

While Mom, no doubt, was swanning around on a sun beam  : )

Comment by koshersalaami on December 15, 2017 at 8:48am

Cremations are never exactly uppers. 

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 15, 2017 at 8:58am

Anna, I'll let you ruminate on the poem.  I don't want to put thoughts in your head.

This came about after thinking about what would pass for eternal life if there is no soul.  If, as some wag said, "it's like the Hokey Pokey; you put your left foot in and your left foot out...and that's what it's all about."  If making life here as good for all as possible is "heaven" then what about the physical part of us that remains?  I read that in your lifetime you breath air molecules that everyone who has ever lived breathed.  Our dust and ashes becomes part of future beings; many of them, and in that way we have a sort of eternal life.

The part about novas is wishful thinking.  Our sun won't "go nova".  It's too small.  However, every molecule in our body heavier than iron came from a supernova that blew atoms across the universe, some getting caught up in earth's gravity, becoming part of our planet and ultimately part of us.

Darn, I said I wasn't going to say what I was thinking.

Comment by Anna Herrington on December 15, 2017 at 8:58am

I know it's weird, but to me there is something lovely about being cremated after death, all body bits erased, all ties to earth physically gone.

Why I feel that way when I like to scour archaeological stuff for lingering evidences of human behavior and belief I have no idea.

or maybe that is why.

Comment by Anna Herrington on December 15, 2017 at 9:01am

Both of my granddaughters were born during meteor showers, one during the summer Perseid shower, one during the winter Geminid shower. 

I call them my star dust girls.

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 15, 2017 at 10:47am

Thanks, FM.

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 15, 2017 at 2:59pm

kosh, you're being too literal.  The questioner is everyone.

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