Thursday, 14 February 2013

Sky Burial

They being Buddhist,
the body an empty vessel when worn
and that vessel cold
because He has taken you from your shelf now,
and having no taste for wakes or sleeps,
or tears, or what a decent man he was,
or what a proud mother she was,
and such nonsense,
and having little wood to burn you,
no soil to hide you,
no lies to embroider you,
no basket to solicit your last few coins,
no prayers to appease you,
no child to love you, poor cadaver,
the Tibetans will bear you to a plateau on a mountain,
shadowed by wild dogs barking your song.

That song will be discordant now
because the wind is cold
and the tripping monk with stiff fingers will lay you
on the bed of rock.
Denying the worms their banquet,
denying the fire its fury,
grinning down his whiskey,
he will rend your flesh with a cleaver,
scatter your bits aside
for the griffons who come first.
He will crush your bones with a sledge
to be mixed with flour for the hawks
and the crows who come last,
who will pick the bed of rock, and your shroud, clean.

If you were meagre you become bird faeces falling
from the sky to fuse with the pungent guano of those who had station.
Together you will feed the bitter grass to feed the yak to feed the people.
Later a boy will take your shroud and wash it in the stream.
Later he will lay it on the roof of the world to dry.


©Noel Loftus, 2013




Noel Loftus is a member of ward9writers based in Mayo and enjoys very short bursts of inspiration tempered by long periods of work.

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