A Sad Poem About Dying
Let Us Then
You and I
Go Now
And Return to
The Vale of Tears

O. R. Risley
I finally figured out this dying stuff
And thought I'd better tell you before it got too late.
The way it happens is this: we are allowed
To vacate the premises at our leisure.
We can check out today or in a week or year or in fifty years or so
Depending on what's gone on before and
our general attitude and deportment.
However, once we depart, we can scarcely believe our eyes
Since we no longer have eyes
(nor nose, nor mouth, nor body, nor body-parts, nor anything to speak of.)
We turn to a soaring fire (or flower) with all non-senses
Erupting openly in the gods' winds that turn us to
Divine neutrinos, photons, eloectrons, protrinos, florescons,
cladesons, fidesons, pico-cansargos and picacanos:
That's the universe we know after we consent to


With no taste at all we taste all;
With no ears there is no silence;
With no eyes light becomes us;
With no skin, we encompass everything, everywhere;
With no space, all space between here and there enters,
the there and the here of us,
As fifteen nonotrillion outpouring
galaxy arms embrace us and our days
(which no longer exist)
and our nights
(which no longer exist).

As we turn, we turn in reflections of ourselves,
But since there's no sound (it's all sound)
You and I cry out soundlessly
Like babies immersed
in a new dark hot sublime mystery.

And there, my love, is the rub of space.
There is no space there, at least no space not filled
With time bent back into itself.
There is no thought of anything at all except,
our thoughts
thoughts repeated.
thoughts repeated again,
thoughts raining like meteors
through what we used to call our minds.

So let us, for a moment, stop, and (philosophically) ask (while we're out here)
Who's minding this space

that is us everywhere.
Thoughts do not cease hhere,
and with no sleep (we can never sleep)
the endless never-dying thought waves
force themselves through
what is now
The sweet red giant you
The dark dark hole of me.

Old stars, say the space-gods,
turn to steel balls, some
heca-trillion light years across.
darkly reflective
place in space,
hanging there
a giant eye of iron
or cast-steel
(cast by whom?)
Hanging there,
by lights
or stars
or my god by the gods.

They say that
when we see ourselves
a galaxy-wide,
ice ball
cast steel perhaps:
They say when we see ourselves
reflected there
in no where;
that's when they offer
to return us to
The Vale of Tears
that we called life,


--- ©1969 The Estate of O. R. Risley

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