No one writes about death and funerals with greater wisdom, wit or feel for words than the poet-undertaker Thomas Lynch.
Is that point of view disputable? I think not. But go on, dispute it all the same. Where healthy debate is concerned, there is harmony only in discord.
Following on from my last post, here’s, if you don’t know it, Tom’s poem In Paradisum. I hope he won’t be copyright-sensitive if I quote it in full. It’s in his collection Grimalkin and Other Poems.
It makes me wonder if there are any funeral workers out there who have had similar thoughts — or even supernatural experiences?
Sometimes I look into the eyes of corpses.
They are like mirrors broken, frozen pools,
or empty tabernacles, doors left open,
vacant and agape; like votives cooling,
motionless as stone in their cold focus.
As if they’d seen something. As if it all
came clear to them, at long last, in that last moment
of light perpetual or else the black
abyss of requiems and nothingness.
Only the dead know what the vision is,
beholding which they wholly faint away
amid their plenary indulgences.
In Paradisum, deducante we pray:
their first sight of what is or what isn’t.