Death Poem
photo by Steven Schreiber

Death Poem (2005)

Death and Mourning

Five months after my good friend died, I find myself in a state of mourning. I felt, and am still feeling, sad. It is not so much I miss what she did for me, but I miss her existence. As loss is to the past, so lack is to the present and future. In this missing, she is still dying.
Death is a process. A death is not accomplished at a clear point in time. There are many ways to determine when a person is dead. This is not strange when one thinks about her birth. Who can say from which moment she has become her? As we can remember a birth is a process, not a point in time, we can understand a death too is a process encompassing before and after the time a death is proclaimed. At the time a person may be dead, she may still be dying. This notion of death as a process affects what we think of mourning. Many friends and many I have not met are still dying, near and far. As an artist, audience member, and person, not only do I feel compelled to mourn; I also want to sustain my mourning. Mourning is a place and time to learn the loss, and I want this mourning to continue as a part of my living
Death is the simple and ancient truth; nonexistence of what used to exist, or an existence going back to the nonexistence where it had come from. While no other thing comes so surely and so equally to everyone as death, one can never experience one's own death; one is dead by the time death is completed. What is unknown brings fear. Man wants to escape death but also wants to learn about it. One can only learn about death by attending the deaths of others. Mourning is attending death. Each death is personal in its process but, by its completion, death becomes universal. Thus mourning is the learning of death.


Eiko
May, 2005

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