Thoughts on Death and Grieving…
The Horned Beetle
(A poem of death and grieving, by Douglas P Smith)
When I heard of your loss
I paused, wanting to go into hiding
from my day of duties.
I wanted to hide like how insects hide
deep in the ground
to rest from the giant-hot sun star.
I wanted to tell the whole world from a tiny
chasm in the dirt
that horned beetle larvae are there
laying just beneath our heavy feet.
And that I suspect that they, the insects,
are the real architects of life
on planet earth.
And so I went.
I had not known about the secret lives of beetles,
simply because I hadn’t been down there before.
But there they were, abiding,
enjoying their little pieces of leaves under candle light
like contented little rhinoceroses.
It occurred to me that there are so many things in this world
we do not know about,
that live just beneath or above
these godly, animated human forms
that are so bothered over their cracked cell phone screens.
And we ourselves are mere insects,
simple contemplations for other,
ever bigger giants
tucked quietly inside other levels of being.
We are all this big godly family,
burrowing over and beneath each other,
opening and closing doors for each other in gratitude or frustration
like waiters in a busy restaurant.
And when one of us goes to another place in the dream that we cannot see,
that is the death we know,
the pain and grief.
Death is otherwise nonexistent,
just a mere changing of form,
the necessary process of the One Artist following her godly whims,
deciding to rework the painting.
I tell you this: all of this new knowledge I had gleaned
from the underground world did not make it easier to come back
into the giant world of humans again.
It did not quell the dreadfeel of fast, uncontrollable change.
It just made it a bit more easy to feel.
And so, as I sit in stillness, I grieve for you –
you feeling ones who must let your loved ones go,
as one horned beetle gives warmth to another horned beetle
deep in the mud.
As one giant-hot sun star shines effortlessly
on another giant-hot sun star
in the painted,
blue yellow of sunfilled sky.
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