Dialogues - A conversation with death

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Tony Bernardi

Come upon my arms to rest…
A conversation with death

Hesitantly I approach you. But make no mistake, I have no such intentions to cross mysterious rivers or step on such downward journeys as did the unfortunate Orpheus. No, make no such mistake. I approach you only to inquire and understand. Why do you bear such a dark heart and deep sorrow? How can you bear your own gross weight and not collapse into oblivion and an eternal black fate?

Why are you the end to everything? Why have you forgotten, or perhaps never knew what you so callously rob others of? I wonder if I can bear to have such a conversation. For how could my voice enter an endless cave and reach an unreachable end? Who is there to listen? Who is peering at me in the dark? Or is it all my imagination?

I am here just as you imagine me, ugly or grave, dark and somber, or morbid and grim. Just the way you require me to be, so I am. Just so. I am not here to claim you. All truth be said, it is you that often claim me. I am your slave, ready to serve you, as you wish.

Serve, you say? What use of death? Are you a pause, or an end? And what of your cruel intrusions and ruthless interruptions? Are you not the bringer of sorrows and unkind separations?

No, I am not unkind, for kindness rests on understanding, and you arrive always gently into my arms, understanding only when you arrive. Rest from unkind toil is not sorrow. Escape from torment is not separation, but reunion. I am the bringer of peace.

Is it not you who kill? Is it not you who wage wars? And is it not you who separate in the name of your virtues, laws, and gods? And in doing so, I am slavishly employed by the same hypocrisy that condemns and abolishes me. Truth be told, don’t you need rest from your childish games? Don’t you require a pause after each glare? A refreshing blink and tear after each judgment and unfair assessment? Is it not hypocrisy to call a restful night the abyss, and the bringer of comfort the reaper grim?

With every blink of an eye you call on me, and every night we embrace and practice lying side by side. How unjust to call your dutiful servant a foe, and how unkind to look at the cleanser of sorrows with fear and contempt. Am I not called by you when you have decimated what you had built, employed only to recycle? And if truly all there is is a cycle, isn’t “end” a lie? What can end that is created eternal?

I am death, the dark side, yet only dark because of your refusal to see. Dark is the grave, my workshop. But make no mistake, my work is alchemy. What you give me I remake, and so what you call “this life”, perpetuates. Your corpses, useless after your use, I reuse to make flowers. On the same pastures in which you have buried your grieving wars I paint a scenery of love, where gentle grass and flowers grow, where you can come and go. Mysterious you call me. True, but isn’t that because you have hidden me so grossly? What you come to fear at the end, and yet the end is not so. Isn’t it madness to fear rest? And isn’t it unkind to make the night a sleepless nightmare?

Do not seek to abolish me. Abolish your unkindnesses instead. And as long as you insist on wars and killings, and dark imaginings that scare you, call on me to repair your soul.

So be kind to this servant who willingly serves, for there is only ignorance to beware. Death comes, and there is life again. What seems an exit is an entrance, a circle really. You should not care.

Created: Mar 24, 2014


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