Wednesday, August 06, 2014

And Death Shall Have No Dominion, part V

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.

The last stanza:

And death shall have no dominion.

And the ashes of death will cease to tyrannize and menace those consumed by the fires of their passions.

As I once heard:

अगर है शौक़ मरने का ,तो हर दम लौ लगाता जा,
जला कर खुदनुमाई को, भस्म तन पर लगाता जा.
(If you are passionate about death, let the blaze of that passion burnish every moment of your existence,
As that blaze turns your self-centeredness to ashes, let those ashes then adorn your body.)

No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
After the men are gone from the earth, perhaps there will come a time when other forms of life too slowly pass into oblivion. Birds and oceans may cease to exist. There was a time, billions of years ago, when life on earth was only in the future. But the wonder is that life sprang from that apparent lifelessness. Lifelessness did not endure eternally. There might be another ice age, another deluge, another apocalypse, but, so what?

Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
"The strength and the beauty of a tender leaf is its vulnerability to destruction. Like a blade of grass that comes up through the pavement, it has the power that can withstand casual death." (Krishnamurti's Notebook)

What is that power? What is that brave facing of an ending but an implicit, intrinsic, inherent, intoxicated determination that life shall begin again. That this ending is but a hiatus.

The beauty of life - the birds, the waves, the flowers - may fall into lifelessness, but this passage is life itself. There will be further waves, further life forms, even stranger trees. Life is the arrow of time, as it moves forward from chaos to order to chaos again.

Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
And even though the soil and earth contain death and a seeming chaos and insanity, that insanity camouflages and hides the seed that gives rise to heartbreaking beauty when new life blossoms forth. Perhaps the myriad forms of death are what give shape to the myriad forms of life.

Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,

And this dance of life and death and then life again will continue to witness and be witnessed, till the stars and the nebulae and the galaxies and the constellations scatter away, into dust, into vacuum, into darkness.

And from that apparent void and darkness and nothingness shall again come matter and light and life and little children and singing and the beauty of creation in all its forms.

And death shall have no dominion.
"To me the honour is sufficient of belonging to the universe — such a great universe, and so grand a scheme of things. Not even Death can rob me of that honour. For nothing can alter the fact that I have lived; I have been I, if for ever so short a time. And when I am dead, the matter which composes my body is indestructible — and eternal, so that come what may to my 'Soul,' my dust will always be going on, each separate atom of me playing its separate part — I shall still have some sort of a finger in the pie. When I am dead, you can boil me, burn me, drown me, scatter me — but you cannot destroy me: my little atoms would merely deride such heavy vengeance. Death can do no more than kill you." (W. N. P. Barbellion, in The Journal of a Disappointed Man)

And death shall have no dominion.

No comments: