October 12, 2020. DEATH

“Bás” by Louise Blake (acrylic on cardboard)

– – –

"For a Trowel in the Graveyard" by S.J. Saighead
Upon a wall in the graveyard
a trowel lay alone and pining
for the hand of a worker abandoned,
stopped dead in the middle of gardening.
The graves that there sat beside it
lay waiting for the hand’s return.
Each sat dead silent, and patient
occupied with a mild concern.
It did not fall, it did not move,
its lips could not be made speak.
The only sounds that could be heard,
are those that had left a beak.
I dare not touch the lonely tool,
too peacefully laid to disturb.
I’ll watch and wait, just like a grave
for the hand to return and perturb.

– – –

– – –

"On Death" by Harrie Costello
I think about it sometimes,
My place beneath the ground,
Where deer and field mice overhead,
Fill silence’s deafening sound.

In it, there is comfort,
In the dark of the constant night,
There is peace and there is order,
In the absence of the light.

Though, I do not wish to meet it,
Not without warning or a sign,
Yet, with open arms I will greet it,
Though not a second before its time.

I think about it sometimes,
Returning to the ground,
When birds and foxes over my head,
Will feast on what they have found. 

– – –

“Boo” by Vian Borchert

– – –

"Self-Baalism" by M.A.A.
Here under the moss they don't listen to the clock.
- I built a world with sticks, stones and dust
by a choice of rejoice I let them do what they must
the dripping leaves were carved of bedrocks' guilt
their shapes hidden underground while tightly knit
as the flight of these little creatures faced the leaves
they pushed a trembling wave across the winding seas
there I found opposition, on my ship towards the light
- I built them a harrowing kingdom of modest type
hoping they'd find honour within the inner-sight
with glimmering eyes mocking a partitioned life
among those who can only meditate and stab
in the sliding thesis of arson, poison and knife
over the waves of the cyclical course of man                                   
the gleam that watches over the kings of the reed
the floods from the ponds will take them indeed
- I slid through the massive snow-struck waterfalls
in one curious maze, icy pines whispered wisdoms
exhaustion forced fingers to their sharpened saws
frozen was the landscape somewhere underneath
liquid was the air we were all forced to breath
the expected became evident, behold another
rivalling man over the tingling grass and clover
for reasons unknown I kneeled and bowed
loneliness astray for servitude was allowed
- I urged him to not touch the sticks, stones
nor dust, as they are not what they seem
all these painful untruths we must hear
symptoms of sever mania and fear
masochism and spiritual mutilation
conceived this realm for examination
many names for this prayer are a miss
what a joke for a misleading baptism
but I am not afraid to call it what it is
- self-Baalism
inversion of the skin, reversion of kin
ever loyal to a fixated infernal link
while whisperers are always listening
in damp caves they will keep lingering
when from their earthly slumber awake
the beings of the overboiling swamps
as burning as the murky dreams they craft
as loud as the thoughts of their mutated minds
they like to negotiate with conversing treetops
but the wooden webs above give mixed signals
well aware of the bitter arrival of the worms
that is no less than inevitable, that is to come
- I built a world with sticks, stones and dust
plan stalled without a vision in these mazes
the deterministic strive of the natural realm
towards the sporadic world of fickle faces
in which everyone speaks but no one listens
in which romantic visitors forget their lovers
- I gasp for misery of these dropping flowers
and I inhale death from their dry blossoms
in our meadows of colourful existence
every living god hopes to disappear
die by the sword of their own cast
the deity's rule has long run past
thus slowly in a moment of calm
it is time to lower the mast.
So much to tell of the journeys
and so many things to say
but in myself
not much has changed
for here under the moss
we don't listen to the clock.

– – –

“psy·cho·pathby Maitreyi Parakh


i. not a single sound / inside the house. / a pool of blood / on the beige carpeting / a battered body / with black-blue wounds on / suddenly bloodless skin. / not a single spark of life / inside the corpse. / blooming bruises / a collar shaped like a hand. / not one soul left. / only remnants of a life once lived. / a photo with a cracked frame / glass on the ground. / a blood-soaked sofa. fit for a ruthless king / a blood-soaked knife. a masterpiece. / (sharp knives are perfect / for tearing throats apart.) / but not a scratch on his body / inside his brain / on his conscience. / it was the best for both of us, baby.
ii. dear diary, today i woke up again / from a nightmare so enchanting / it scared me more than any imaginary monsters could. / (what are men if not monsters themselves?) / you probably know what nightmare, don’t you? / it just won’t get out of my head. / i can see him / his beautiful yet terrifying face / and hear him / repeating the same sentence over and over again. / is this normal? / having the same nightmare each night? / not being able to fall asleep because of it? / i’m afraid. / maybe i’m sick? / please, let it go away. / together, forever.  
iii. clenching your jaw / so hard it hurts / but still you smile. / gritting your teeth / so hard they break / but still you smile. / you can’t breathe or think properly / because everything is so red / red the color of the fire that burns in your stomach / simmering dangerously / but still you smile. / bitter words burning your skin like acid / a lump of coal on your tongue / instead of sugar / but still you smile. / the price of happiness is your blood.

– – –

"sunsets for God" by Linda M. Crate
death only haunts
the living,
memories reach with
ghostlike translucent hands;
brings forth rivers
of grief—
i hope wherever your spirit 
went when you left us when you died
that you are no longer suffering
as you did in life,
but i feel guilty that you didn't know
how much we loved you;
i feel guilty that your death made me realize
that i didn't want to die but i just wanted the
pain and rage and agony in me that 
flowed like an out of control ocean to die—
i wish that your angels could've 
been stronger than your devils,
yet here we are;
it's been twenty years since you left us
and i can't stop thinking about
how different things could be had you lived—
i wonder how many of your paintings
you could've sold online on places like
redbubble, etsy, zazzle, or other online shops...
wonder how far your paintings and art would've traveled,
once i thought maybe you could teach me how
to paint;
but now you sculpt sunsets for God. 

– – –

“A Friend’s Grave” by Seán Delaney

– – –

"Through the Veil" by Alberte Steengaard
All I wanted was to fall asleep 
To leave behind this pressure
The guilt
I only wanted peace

My heart I leave behind
But my body will fall
Fall through the ice
the fire
the air

Falling asleep
Is this a dream, could it
be a dream

I only wanted to fall asleep
Let my mind soar, my body
It was just a dream

I remember
Fields of flowers
Grass so green

Not from falling, from the wind
This I remember

Now I wish to wake
To rise, not to
No more ice, no more cold
Let me wake

I only wished to fall asleep
But there is no waking
not from this

– – –

"Fall" by Vian Borchert
Fall thou art so lovely!
Your turning colors
from red to orange and even burgundy
Sparkle and twist
with every wind breeze.
Fall thou art so lovely!
In every Fall
I fall apart
aching for change
to fill my heart.
Fall thou art so lovely!
The parks’ paths filled with fallen yellow leaves
The trees turning orange
Colors of the sun so warm and bright
adorn every dead leaf fallen on the ground
With every step
a crunchy leaf
at your feet.
Fall thou art so lovely!
Fall thou art so splendid!
You made an art of turning death into
a nature full splendor!

– – –

"In Honour of an Old Lady" by Pierce Dunne
I wore a t-shirt, navy and stained
My hoodie thrown to the side of the grave stubbornly dug
My arms cold and wet in the wind and the drizzle and the dark

I listened to a man apologise for confession and catharsis,
Casting skeletons from closets despite the tears that came with them

I couldn’t bear the silence, not then,
Not between the tree and ditch and the dark,
Not with your ghost by my side

A cavalcade of songs that fit but failed to hit
Their rhythms made the digging no easier against soil that sparked defiance against shovel blade
So hard I thought it rock
An improvised headlamp,
an iPhone and a broken headlamp whose straps’ use remained,
Proved me wrong but made the job no easier

I left.
Returned with a length of iron
(You had not stirred
Neither from graveside, myside, bushside)
Rust coated it and then me as I took it in bare hands
Again and again I drove it down into the earth,
Shifting slivers of soil that stayed solid in hand when plucked.
I marvelled and broke it, tossing it onto the dirt mound to the left with you to my right.

Watching, and yet not waiting for attention and affection,
Knowing this would be the last thing I could do for you
The last kindness I could give you,
An honour you, loyal lady of rolling fields, did so dearly deserve

I saw you last Monday last,
I wish I’d known that would be the last so I could have marked it
Eve, afternoon, or morn,
If only for my mourning

Tuesday we realised your absence
I searched field, bog, and ditch, brother and mother the same,
Roads too, and neighbours called to keep an eye for you
You weren’t the kind to stray,
Too loyal and jealous to go far from our love for fear your sisters would get it
“Too old to be taken” my brother and I thought as we searched,
As much for you as for what would remain of you

Tuesday week, three nights ago (As I write this after midnight, 
once more amongst wind and rain and dark and yet comfortable now in the silence), Mam found you
Tuesday, Tyr’s day, yet no tears that night,
They came, welled up, welling even as I type, yet will not fall
I cannot push them though at times I would
They shall come in their time as this too shall pass

You lay not five feet from the kitchen door
Clingy, even in death
We think you died sleeping
You were sick we knew, stiff with age and past exertions
Resting, and then forever at rest
You adored those bushes, the shade and the sanctuary from pups too young to leave well enough alone
You were 11 and now no older despite the years we thought you had left in you

Mam came into the kitchen and told me
I finished chopping leeks and got to work on your grave
Sick with sorrow and frustration
Guilt that you lay the seven days unseen without even a grave to mark your passing

A rough three hours it took but finally a resting space for you
4ft long by 2ft deep by 2ft wide
A fine bed for a finer friend,
The finest I’ve ever had

I told my brother and he came with me to bury you
His lecture was live that night so I dug as he studied
We buried you in the lights of his van
Mam didn’t want to come out
She had her memory of you and wanted to keep you, not your corpse, in it

I had to see you out though, see what was left
I owed you for summer days when the loneliness would all but choke me and you would simply stay by my side
I would mark your passing, remember every last second of you
From the babe in my arms to the friend in the grave

We buried you together, he and I
Talking little and taking turns with shovel and soil
Comfort came easier sharing this than it ever could sharing feelings
The best we, any of us, could do was platitudes

I called a friend that night, minutes after we found you,
Have called others since
There is a peace in me now, a peace inscribed in this and me
Born of them and the digging and the knowing
I hope it finds you, if only through the pieces I carry with me

– – –

Next exhibition theme: CHAOS

Deadline: Midnight, October 25th

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

Published by artisticdifferencescurator

My name is Seán and I am the creator and curator of the Artistic Differences Project. I started this project during the lockdown in Ireland due to COVID-19 in March 2020 as a way to get my friends and I creating during a troubling time. From there the project as gone from strength to strength and now we publish a new exhibition every two weeks.

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