Sunday, August 03, 2014

And Death Shall Have No Dominion, part III

Part I, Part II.

And death shall have no dominion.

And death might take away one man or a million, but it shall not rule the earth.

Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;

The winds of change appear and disappear, on the surface of life. But deep down, at the foundations of existence, there exists a stillness and a calm. Neither sorrow nor joy, neither ebullience nor grief, neither dance nor wail exists at that depth. The sea and winds and the struggles and the battles roar only at the surface, but as men sink down into death, they are still, motionless, silent. Though dying be painful, death is not.

On a digression, I recommend a story apparently about dying, and the great peace that comes once you accept death: Death of an old, old man by Roald Dahl.

Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;

The agonies of living and dying ages our bodies, breaks our hearts and diminishes our minds. We gain only to lose. We stand, learn to walk, fall and rise again, undertake journeys, get lost, find our way again, or perhaps find ourselves forgotten and lonely. The flesh can be torn, the frame can be tortured, but throughout history there have been men whose spirit has withstood all this and who have transcended pain. For them, death was not the final calamity, but only the final test. Jesus of Nazareth of course, but many sung and unsung heroes before and after him. They had a fire and a passion which was stronger than the desire to survive. For them, living was not the highest value, their spirit was.

Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;

Faith is both a flame in the spirit, as well as how it expresses itself in our acts and our years while we are alive. The expressions of faith can be imprisoned, they can be broken apart, temples can be brought down, hands and tongues cut from the bodies, books can be burnt, paintings and sculptures and schools and homes and fireplaces and little cups of porcelain can be destroyed. The evil of destruction coexists with the fire of creativity. Creations can be destroyed, but creativity endures in other forms, only to create again. Faith in the hands can be snapped, but faith in one's heart can be eternal and indestructible.

Split all ends up they shan't crack;

Splitting is separation, while cracking is the admission of defeat. One can defeat an army, separate mothers from sons, husbands from wives, an artist from his creations, but how can one defeat bravery, motherhood, love, and art? One cannot. These are eternal.

And death shall have no dominion.

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