All Souls Day 2007
By Michael Power - Welland, Ontario, Canada - 18 August 2014
“You turn man back to dust, saying, ‘Return, O children of men’” (Psalm 90:3)
Standing at the front gates,
the car-borne world whooshing by,
the early winter sun slowly slipping
into a pool of gold-tinged blood,
I see before me
monuments to men,
the children of men,
gathered together in this democracy of the grave
by the arms of Christ crucified on high ground.
My pilgrimage begun, I walk among
open books of names and numbers,
final farewells, sorrowful supplications,
praying hands and cultural crosses,
weeping willows by the score and those
stiff-looking photographs of the freeze-framed dead.
One day no one will remember having seen them in the flesh.
They’re all laid out, one by one, side by each,
in the perfect cemetery symmetry of a well-groomed suburb,
planted in memory of those swallowed up by the earth
and carried away to an unknown country by the rivers
of our feckless forgetfulness and puff pastry piety.
I walk among these tidy tombstones,
polished and erect, cold and unchanging,
thinking of all the bones and dust of the
“dearly departed” that lie beneath them,
consigned for cash to man-made oblivion.
Purchased at great price, they are for the living,
man’s final folly to himself and his time-bound doings,
as he tumbles ever so clumsily into God-made eternity,
where judgment will be rendered according to love alone.
This is my fate, this is my fortune.