Soooooo….if you don’t like angels or yet more sexual imagery involving death, turn back now. If you don’t like imagery involving angels and love, turn back now. If you’re going to tell me I’m just ripping off Leilah Wendell, don’t bother commenting. (To be honest, I hadn’t even heard of her until I was just about to move to New Orleans, 3 years after Azrael made himself known to me.)
I admit, these first two songs are just for fun. Kind of. Somewhat. *achem*
You first came to me as I was dreaming
(as you sometimes do now, but mostly you come
when I am adrift in my thoughts and loosened
from the flesh, you come like sleep
you come like soft rain,
you come like the haze of longing, gentle and fine-feeling
like the mist o’er the valley and its stone memorials.
As I said, you first came to me as I was dreaming
I had heard your name that day,
that you were outcast and alone in the way
that only death can be,
though you were kindness incarnate,
benevolent annihilation and the herald of quiet repose
in the way that only death can be.
I said to myself, “I would be his friend, if he would have me.”
You came to me, so beautiful that it almost hurt,
that very night as I lay supine and wandering unconsciously
into the nexus of untouched ethereal forests and
the meadows of enlightened Nod-
and most piercingly I remember your dark eyes,
and the way you fit into my arms:
brother, I called you, and how easily it fit
that there was something that bound us together,
a joyful fetter,
as if I were meant to love you unconditionally,
and you, the same for me.
I was 15, and it was and still is a pillar of my living hours,
these 15 and a half years into my story-
though the narrative was probably as old as whatever genesis I’ve held or re-held.
It was ever you with me, after that dream
that heralded your entrance in my life
(or perhaps you were always there, and I had just realized it):
my guide, my protector, my friend closer than friend
and brother more than brother,
you were my anchor during a dark and tender time,
a great happiness when there was so little joy in my young life
(a life spent trapped, hated, unwanted),
a rare comfort and a certain refuge
no matter how far I strayed or afraid of you I became,
you were always the patient guardian,
the watcher over my umberous hours,
who sang me to sleep with music so subtle it was only understood
in the spaces between waking and sleeping.
In so many ways, there was only you,
just as there was only I.
At no time in my knowing you, then or now,
were you ever a thing of cruelty, or a beast hungry
for blight and malady
(as some spirits are wont to become or
as some said your nature was, being death
or being fallen down, lies lies lies):
For through your care, the harvest was threshed
and so lovingly gathered as if each ear of wheat, each soul-thread cut
was precious, no matter how rotten or pristine,
all we treated according not just to your justice but your mercy.
Death was always beautiful because of you
and when you gathered friends and loved ones
heavy in your arms and borne so willingly,
I had no qualm or grief save that they were gone from me-
in your hands, how could all not be as it should be?
You have been the constant in my journey,
guardian and patron even before I knew my path-
when I ran from enchantment you followed me
whispering reminders in my ear and gently tugging my hand
to follow you, to come with you, back to where I belonged.
When I insisted on everything but the necropolis,
you watched my frolics patiently.
allowing me to grow like a weed in the ample sunlight-
to become strong enough, honest enough
for the work I would take up
as if taking up the scythe in the fields after resting during the noon.
Through every step and every turn,
you were there.
When the work and the pain of living made me mad
you did not abandon me.
When I raved and could not care for myself,
when I made terrible judgements and fouled up the well of my life,
you abided with me as you do now.
You laid your hands upon my crown and said, “Fear not”
You said, “All things pass”
You said, “This will not last forever”
You said, “I am your protector, why do you not call for me?
Why do you stubbornly insist on doing everything alone?
With me, you are not alone nor will you ever be.”
My champion, my defender, my tutor, my loved one,
was there ever a time you have not been with me?
With you, with the gods, with all that loved me,
I am able to stand though crippled,
able to run though in agony
and able to see though blind.
Take This Waltz by Leonard Cohen
Yes, this one again.
Your songs turned my head and I looked behind me.
Years after I began walking along side you
that your whispers took on a different tone, a deeper message
vibrating through the nerves in my soul
to the cave where my spirit dwells:
“Lover, come” you said,
“Beloved, come, I am waiting here for you-
I will and I must, but come to me,
every step forward is a victory.”
I could not reject you (though I think I might have tried
afraid that I was madder than I thought),
my hand already laid in yours
and you were the patient gentleman, courting me
down a longer and lonelier road:
the hard rocks sharp on my feet, but sweeter than the flowers on the tomb.
If I know you’re there or if I don’t, we walk together,
and down this road I saw more than I suspected there-
again, you guide me so kindly into the dark places
that no light has seen but the photo-negative of your cranial nimbus:
there you show me,
and there you love me,
and there we walk and are silent
or there we talk and you uplift me-
wings out and open to eclipse the coming daybreak
to prolong the night further, our time longer
before I tire and you, ever the considerate companion,
carry me back to tuck the black pearl in it’s ordinary shell.
There is such joy and life in Death,
and where my gods command I go
you are still there, supporting me,
holding up my spine or clutching my failing heart,
you force me on, but it is no rapine:
“This is mine, and mine is yours, we walk the path together now,
there is no turning back, my love,
from where you belong and whom you belong to.”
I bow my head and walk onward, grateful beyond words
for the silent strength you will me and the unconditional love
that will come from no man, no woman, no child on the earth.
The path hurts,
but I cannot be without it,
because without it, I am not,
and without you, I am widowed.
I don’t know where things will take us next,
I don’t know how well I’ll be able to do
what I’ve set out to do
when there’s so much there to interfere
with that is really important:
I just know that this is what is vitally imperative
and that I’ll do my best,
and that we’ll do this together,
hand upon hand and cheek to cheek.
I know that you’ve given me what no one else in my life
has been able to give me, and you’ve been there
as one of few fixed points in this turbulent hurricane
(that drowns and beats me by turns).
Where everything else falls apart
(as everything should fall apart,
it’s in its nature)
you are still there:
absolute, final, patient and open-armed.
We do the work.
We serve whom we serve.
We have each other.
This is another constant of few
in a world made to decay-
the only absolutes in all of existence, it seems,
love and death are guaranteed.
In you, dear heart, I have both.
With you, dear heart, I am no longer alone.
In you, dear heart, there is peace and rest
and a cease to my restless wandering.
Serenity, repose, silence…at last!
“I have taught you the price of compassion;
you have stood before the grave.
Though my love can seem
like a raging storm,
this is the love that saves.” — Dan Schutte, Holy Darkness