“And someone entered death with his eyes open.–Alejandra Pizarnik.
I want to enter death with my eyes open. My ears open, without masks, without fears. Knowing and not knowing. Serenely facing other voices, other airs, other paths. Forgetting my memories, detaching myself, being reborn intact.”
– Claribel Alegria
For me, these words are about Faith more than Death, but even so, is writing about Death inherently depressing? I share the experience of many others who have been very close to death – finding the clarity of Claribel Alegria to be an affirmation of Life.
So many pieces have “working titles” that change, but it seems important that this poem, originally titled “My Last Moment” grew into the more fitting title “The Moment Before.”
The Moment Before
by John Carter
for a cool Vermont morning.
I’ll be out with my dogs, early,
just as the sun comes up.
For some reason, the mosquitoes will all be sleeping.
The dogs will romp in the grass,
still decorated with dew,
running to me, then away,
as they soak in the morning.
I’ll remember yesterday’s conversations with my children,
and smile at how they are all doing so well, so happy.
I’ll walk to a favorite spot and sit,
sun on my face,
reading a great book.
I’ll think about my granddaughter,
my parents, sisters, brother.
I’ll think about my best friends and laugh a little.
I’ll remember my old dog, Bo, and cry a little.
When it’s late enough
that the birds have stopped singing
and the chipmunks run back to their dens,
I’ll put my headphones on
and listen to Alison Krause and Gillian Welch sing I’ll Fly Away.
And then I will.