Kings among the Dead

Be kind to me, I’m simply parched for a soft word, worn with time, but lovely all the same.

Like tattered photographs caressed with the eager hands of youth, now decaying at the edges, be the moth that draws the flame. Sweet and tender whispers, lead and guide me to that place, where voices know no silence, and darkness knows no name.

Softest witnesses behind me, lead me to the shore, where eagerly awaits the morn, and pray you stand beside me as I enter into breaking dawn.

Would that witness might be a virtue, then i’d burn before your wandering eyes.

Let the light shine from broken bodies, and flowers fall from bleeding wounds, the fragrance all around me, not decay but life reborn. Death behold your martyrs, the victories you’ve won, we’ve exploded your power in them, and cast them into the newborn sun.

A single word upon her lips is worth this bleeding razor’s kiss. A thousand deaths I’d gladly die, a thousand lives lived to the full, to extol that which we see and know.

We’ve gazed into that inner court, the sanctum of life’s pure wells, and though we see what waits us there, we laugh beneath the tolling bells. Let the falls cast upon us their endless stream, and pour wrath on us like wasted wine, that we might love our dying friend with songs to guide his rest.

Weep with me at the rising tied, and waters that wash over their chains. Join me in tears for our beloved, as we send him off, the first of many more to follow. Tremors rip through our souls, as they rip through many bodies. Stand in blessed agony, close your eyes with holy dread, and offer up a single solitary whisper for the weak and weary, who are Lord over us. It is the least such as these who are kings already among the dead come back to life.


7 thoughts on “Kings among the Dead

  1. Your “Kings Among the Dead” is quite beautiful, and evocative, and moving—dare I say, good poetry.

    Thanks for sharing; though I’m in a different path now, I still love the cry of triumph in I Corinthians:, “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?”

    Best wishes,

    • Thank you, I truly appreciate it.

      I Corinthians often blesses my heart, and that particular passage often gives me chills.

      Thank you for your kindness, for reading, and for sharing a response.


    • The only thing in the Buddhist tradition (that I’m aware of) that parallels this cry of victory over death is the Buddha’s triumphant exclamation of joy when we gained full enlightenment and saw through all illusion and conditioning:

      “O house-builder, you are seen! You will not build this house again. For your rafters are broken and your ridgepole shattered. My mind has reached the Unconditioned; I have attained the destruction of craving.”

      Builder: craving; House: body (the five aggregates); Rafters: defilements; Ridgepole: ignorance

      Here’s another, longer and fuller, translation of the Buddha’s “lion roar” of final victory:

      Through the round of many births I roamed 
without reward,
without rest,
seeking the house-builder.
      Painful is birth 
again and again.

      House-builder, you’re seen!
      You will not build a house again.
      All your rafters broken,
the ridgepole destroyed,
      gone to the Unformed,
      the mind has come to the end of craving.

      Obviously, this appears to be a very different victory than what I Corinthians is talking about, and I would be loathe to compare them. But the Buddhist finds great inspiration in this example.

      As to what happens to one after the enlightenment that ends all further incarnation, happily the Buddha refused to answer, since it is beyond all description. 🙂 (It is not, as some critics suppose, annihilation.)

  2. I think they are two very different victories, which is why i’m suspicious when scholars of religion in general attempt to reduce very divergent streams of thought into some general idea.

    Paul seems to be all about re-embodiment. II Cor. 6 is a prime example of that.

    But I appreciate the Buddhist tradition, it has a special place in my heart. I tried buddhism in high school and found it highly engaging, challenging and alive, i jut felt it was not for me. But, I appreciate our developing friendship, and our ability to learn from each other.

    I am uninformed on a scholarly level, and what i learned on the popular level is suspect, but I’m glad we’re having these talks.

    I’ll have to contemplate this Lion’s Roar, since it is interesting to me.


    • Oh, yes, two different victories, to be sure. I’m not for syncretism or blurring distinct boundaries, and yes, as someone raised in Christianity, I realize the Christian victory includes the redemption of the body, not its transcendence—at least not right off the bat. 🙂

      What Christian can say with authority what total Godlikeness might finally be, i.e., the full revelation of the divine (not clay) image and likeness? Even as a Christian, I never imagined an infinite life in a finite (or even a “glorified” two-legged homo sapiens) body as the “end game.” My dear Mormon friends could, and many evangelicals I knew, but I always felt their vision for man fell far short of infinite Spirit’s vision. LOL!

      Enjoying our conversation, too. True confession, I couldn’t have had this discussion even a few years ago. It would have been too painful, and it’s taken me years to break free of what I feel was indoctrination and conditioning of my Christian upbringing.

      I still have to be careful and be tender with my heart. Theoretical discussions of metaphysical points and philosophical debates are anathema to me; been there, done that, and it almost did me in. Now, with the Buddha, I touch the Earth, and say, “Right here, right now” and try to leave all speculation about “end games,” whether the kingdom of heaven or nirvana, to my daily growth and awakening to love, wisdom, and compassion.

      All the best,

    • That is a very good way to look at things. I’m much the same. I’m glad we share that.

      I also am glad you’ve been able to heal, I was raised Christian, but quickly rejected it when i was about 13, and tried a few other paths.

      4 years ago almost, i made the choice to try it again, and I found life. but that was my journey.

      Right here, right now. beautiful.

      Let’s keep in touch,

  3. Thanks, Eli. I’m so glad you found your home!

    Glad to have made your acquaintance (Thanks, Nancy) See you around the blogs.

    “Eternal life begins already in time, it can come to light in every moment, in the depths of the moment, as the eternally present. Eternal life is not the future life,but the life of the present, the life in the depth of the moment.”
    ~Nicolas Berdyaev

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