whispered death

Posted on July 11, 2009


the funeral party hurried up the hill following the fat priest with designer glasses. the wind was blowing in their faces so that they had to squint. the light had the subtle quality of a foggy argument among friends.

up on the hill by the grave stood the muse of the dead man they had come to bury. she was visible to everyone, mentioned by nobody. the mourners huddled around her gown shuffling nervously as one does in the presence of an angel. the priest was conscious of his inept performance earlier in the chapel. the muse made him feel queasy. he thought of himself as a servant to the Lord & now the muse’s elongated eye lashes brought unease to his heart, a weak muscle constricted by ritual incantations and praying performances. to the feeble-minded, the muse looked like a lion unitiated untamed ready to devour their souls. to the steadfast, she simply rose from the Earth like a tamarix adorned with only a tuft of hair swaying in the breeze, a figure of no failure to fend off bad spirits.

the untertaker put the urn in the square-shaped hollow in the ground, twitched & hid behind the father. as the angel stepped forward, the cinerary container rose from its early grave and became an onion, an orange, an olive: it opened and grew a single leaf: this was the dead man’s fate dangling by the seraph’s unsullied fingers. thus spake the Great One:

i have weighed this man and measured him and looked at his life’s work. he spent years in the shade of his endowments, he accrued accolades for his art & he bore the sign of creation on his high forehead. he was a king in his own realm, which stretched from everwhere to nowhere & was governed by but one principle: beauty. then she lowered the ashen cask & disappeared leaving tranquil thought so that even the cleric dropped his defiant demeanour.

the bereaved shuddered at her might & every one of them thought of their own talent & felt elevated by the eulogy. they began to breathe as if reborn. they became mulberry shoots, every single one of the people who had merely pondered life’s small matters a moment earlier, they turned into apollonian arrows hurling themselves at any one standing in their human way. they had come as a flock & left as a truculent platoon. they had meant to pray and fear & departed with death their friendly companion on the longest the shortest journey made by man and woman & the dead only preceded them by a bit, bite-sized and not too big to chew.

© 2009 finnegan flawnt – after burying his uncle, a great artisan if there ever was one.

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