During a quiet night in a lonely village, a man struggled for breath.
With tongue bridled by fear and voice muted by a crushing awe, the one standing by said,
“Death came to us, and death left again…
Life may be content with reason, but death needs something more,*
so create a purpose, a divine and beauteous dance.
A dance with logic, with love, with the aching rawness of a human heart laid bare –
For what more is humanity than the girl crying on the sidewalk?
What more is humanity than the man who struggles to walk, has no home?
What more than the man who just hit his wife?
And what more, then, the love we share as a race,
the love which nature grants us,
the love that sweeps the heavens as the sun travels on its daily round.
What is this something more in death but that we understand that,
Grasp that essence, that beating heart which lies all around us,
To grasp it and to woo it with all the tender love of a swain his lady?
An understanding. A love. A passion which burns through our veins even as the light fades from our eyes.
And that is what we desire from death.
From life? Reason? Yea, reason.
And yet from life also a fulfillment. We need satisfaction.
What is life but the searching for love, for trust, for faith, for wealth, for glory?
And for what are these things purposed but for a fulfillment?
A fulfillment of a covenant created between man and his heart at the beginning of the age;
before the first animal died, pierced through the heart with a merciless arrow, man knew what he wanted.
“Nourish me,” he said. “Nourish me, that I may become what I wish, receive what I wish, conquer the worlds I will find. Nourish me.”
And the blood of the animal poured out upon the ground, and it was so.
The man gathered wood. He created fire.
This fire was his hope, his wish. He was warm, he was fed. Satisfaction lurked in the creases of his tense smile.
And the next day, he killed again.
Before the dark red blood had dried upon the ground, the man found a girl.
He took the girl for his own, and he made her his.
She knew no other way, and she submitted with a whimper.
Days passed. More blood poured out upon the ground.
More life entered the world from the womb of the girl who had become the man’s,
and as their children come into the world, suddenly the noise of the beasts was overrun.
The light shone more glaringly, and yet no one could see
as, for the first time in the virgin young world, child raised hand against child.
The blood of man poured out upon the earth,
and with one voice they all cried out, “Dear God, what have we done?”
Wildly ran the children upon the earth as they did their utmost to rip down the innocence woven through the trees.
Desperately they fought and pushed and strove against one another,
fighting to see who could do more damage to this harsh world they were born into by their sobbing mothers,
and the world fell.
Suddenly death was a word upon all their lips and hatred greeted them all daily.
The man who sang in the night, perchance it was he who felt the pain most keenly.
For what is the ability to see beauty but the power to understand the depth of ugliness and yet struggle back up?
Yea, the depth of ugliness was there, and yet the beauty still floated around on the wisps of the breeze.
Man searched still for satisfaction.
Still he robbed his bride and took her for his own,
and still the blood of animals slid through his fingers as he grasped at the food which he needed so dearly.
Was he satisfied?
Oh, yes, satisfaction dripped from him, oozed from his body, screamed in triumph as he struck down another
and he wanted more.
The night was a time of fear and the day a time of war
Life was a time of anxiety, desperately trying to reason with those around him –
no, don’t kill me, it’s not worth your while.
Death was….yes, what was death?
What was death, and what is in death?”
And so the philosopher pondered, beginning at the end, reverting to the beginning, and coming to the same conclusion at last as the man no longer fought to breathe.
*This line was stolen/borrowed from (or at least inspired by) this post. That poem is also at least part of the reason I wrote this in the first place. So my appreciation, my unknowing inspiration.