Friday, December 24, 2004

First death

Lu 1:35 The angel answered, ``The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

The thing that struck him first was loneliness.

Never had he been this small before.
Never had he known a darkness
that his eyes could not illuminate.
Never had he felt this nakedness before.

Swimming in a universe of night, enclosed within a mortal frame,
a stranger in a foreign land,
a deep and hidden presence in another's life.

Then there was the growing, groping,
bones to bones,
flesh flowering,
fingers, toenails, toes, lips and hair
till all was there in perfect miniature.

Then the low and soothing harmonies
of pulse
and distant words
and fondling touch
that rippled the starless ceilings of this shrinking world.

A strange and changing world this was
a world within a world where tears and joy
were equally removed and only the dark (and soothing) peace
washed muffled silence with the borrowed warmth
of unknown motherblood....
and, oh, what harmonies you knew as
your pulse grew with hers
and such security emplaced
enfolded in a womb's embrace.

Until the crushing tightness closed around
and suffocating blackness wound
you like a shroud
your universe was shuddering and shaking
to a woman's cry of pain.

This is the first death
when the inner world implodes.
There are other deaths. They normally come after.

You descended, surging on a wave of blood
to cold and unresponsive straw
where cow breath spiced the winter night
with fragrance fit for kings.

Iced air sliced
every newborn nerve as your first breath
hit your lungs like a slap in the face.

You never breathed before.
It's a vulnerable feeling for a body so robust
to need the winsomeness of wind
to enter in and out our frame.

Welcome to this world, for this is our life.
Do you like it?

It is real. It is raw; the raw
skin tingling tautness of the winter cold..
The raw warm comforts of caress,
the chequered light of love and hate
that haunts our fallen race.

You are one of us now. We will teach you how we live.
And you will teach us why
you die.

(c) A.McN

Pregnancy at any time is beautiful but strange to the point of incomprehension. To host a human being from conception to birth is to be a temple of life. What, then, is it to host life's architect and to be entrusted with his care?


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