Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Doorway to the Light


image borrowed from sites.duke.edu


Doorway to the Light

“Death is frightening, but so is eternal life.”
--Mason Cooley.

Somewhere in adolescence,
        after attending my first funeral, I began
                   to visualize the significance of death. I listened
                              to the ministers yowl & bray about how our Life
                 was clothed in Sin, rife with our prevalent imperfections,
        our tendency toward greed, and our murderous
rages. Then I watched my parents die
young, & my grandparents passed on.

I did not have either the stamina nor the
temperament to accept the mandates,
dictates, rules, & edicts of any particular
        religion, so my version of faith had to grow
               out of stern arid stuff, struggling for sustenance--
                      but when it did blossom in all its brilliant Zen-ness,
               I found it to be evergreen, sheathed in infinity,
         and hard-wire connected directly into the
  belly of the Cosmos.

Twenty years ago I was allowed to stand
at Death’s Door, catapulted there by illness,
but before that final fatal step, there was some
kind of spiritual intervention, & I never ventured
beyond the veil, even though it fluttered on my
face. I found myself locking jaws with a golden
dragon before becoming baptized with a white
torrent of kundalini energy. 

I clearly saw that death of the body was just a portal, an egress,
a doorway where Soul transferred to another plane of existence--
perhaps not the pearly gates described as Heaven, nor the lusty
vigor of Valhalla, nor even the orderly logic of Bardo, but rather
some shining alternate reality/dimension where fear demons
were forced to flee back into their ignorant shadowland. So as
this less than hearty husk approaches its expiration date, as
that transitional doorway yawns open ever closer--sometimes at
2 a.m., the chilly draft awakens me--I simply refuse to wear the
red robes of victim, & opt to wear the rainbow mantle of cosmic
traveler.
                
No one escapes Life
alive, but death just brings us
our eternity. 

Glenn Buttkus

19 comments:

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

Well....I had to stop and wipe my eyes, Glenn. And then my beloved walked in and saw my tears. I almost lost him on October 14, 2013....a six minute cardiac arrest. Not a heart attack -- an arrest. His heart just stopped. Suffice it to say, so many angels along the way and he walked back across the street (we live a block from the Mass General Hospital campus) with my children on either side of him, just five miraculous days later. We are thankful for every day. I am thankful my friend, for this beautiful post. I am printing it and keeping it close. This time your words truly had me inside them. Thankful for every day.

Toni Spencer said...

About seven years ago, death knocked on my door and managed to almost get inside. So I can truly relate to this. I knew I could die but was more concerned for those I would be leaving behind, for their grief and emptiness. I told them several times I was fine with it, that I was comforted and because of my faith, had no fear of the beyond. Well, obviously, I didn't die. I have lost three dearly beloved people this past year and know they didn't fear as well but then again, there's those of us here on the other side of that door. Like you, I refused to be a victim and embraced that door. I have held the hands of those I love who died and have held the hands of those who had no one and been deserted. I was a volunteer in an AIDS hospice program and my job was to be a hand holder, one which I cherished. Maybe that is why I didn't fear death at the time. I still don't. I know you will know who said this but it seems someone said that death is just the next step of the journey. Most excellent work on this. I always hold that haibun should be honest and not fiction as their original function was a truthful travelogue. Well, you hit that truthful travelogue squarely on the head and drove it in deep. One of your best.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Such a powerful close..!! Brilliant as always :D

Therisa's World said...

As someone, who somehow managed to escape Death, several times, I don't fear Her touch, should the day come, but welcomed it, with open arms. For Death is, the balancer between order and chaos, in all life, in the universe. So, yes, your above poem speaks, an inner truth that I have embraced, starting as, a 4 year old child, so many years ago.

De said...

I love this, especially, Glenn:
I found it to be evergreen, sheathed in infinity,
and hard-wire connected

Grace said...

When death knocks, it can be frightening and shakes us up ~ I admire your honesty about your spirituality as a cosmic traveler ~ My favorite part is finding the zen-ness in the belly of cosmo ~

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Wonderful, man. We all stand close to that final doorway - only a wise few see that it is always beckoning. Great write, Mosk

Debi Swim said...

"I clearly saw that death of the body was just a portal, an egress, a doorway"
I hope so and I'll take Heaven if it is offered.

Arcadia M said...

I love this piece.

Victoria said...

This is a wonderful reflection, Glenn--and those preachers who focused on sin, in my opinion, totally missed the boat. I see death as you do, the beginning of something we can't really begin to imagine. Like this a lot.

Kim M. Russell said...

A touching insight into death, Glenn. I love the haiku.

annell said...

I am torn between it happens, and we have something to do with it...and it happens and we have nothing to do with it. It is just what happens, like the sun in the morning, and the moon at night, still when it does, and it is one we love, it can strike us down, and it takes times to regain our balance. Still if it is not your 'time'[, it won't happen.... There are mysteries in life, and death is one of them, always questions unanswered....and we are left lonely. I think our own death won't be as bad, as the death of our loved ones... as time passes the circle of our loved ones, grows smaller, and the ones we love the very best, and often taken early.

Marilyn B said...

I'm in no rush to find out, but here's hoping that I'll join there one day.

Petru Viljoen said...

This is clearly a real experience. Thanks for letting us know it's not so terrifying as we all think it is. I've heard other people tell the same. Beautifully penned.

PSC said...

Beautiful! I particularly like the following:

"as this less than hearty husk approaches its expiration date, as
that transitional doorway yawns open ever closer--sometimes at
2 a.m., the chilly draft awakens me--I simply refuse to wear the
red robes of victim, & opt to wear the rainbow mantle of cosmic
traveler."

freyawrites.com said...

Gosh, Glenn, what a masterpiece! And I am very glad you didn't have to take the final step when Death beckoned.

Kate Mia said...

TiMe.. a River
and not a clock..
Life.. a now
and not
an end..
SAdly.. iN
church..
wHere
end
means
more.. than liFe
oF Now.. Holy..
Insanity.. can
reign in
doors
shut
closed..
Nature.. has
the answer..
juST
liVe..
and Nike
too..
Do
iT
noW..:)

lynn__ said...

You literally knocked on Death's door, Glenn! A powerful write...agree that death is merely a portal to another life. I know my Savior will walk me through it and my Father waits on the other side...in glorious light. Thanks for bringing us to the brink with your words and making us think about the other side.

brudberg said...

I just had to check out some of favorite poet's job on the prompt... and this has to be one of my favorite ever... the haiku adds so much to that door that you cannot go back through...