Remembrance and acquittal: two souls of November. Acquittal in the sense of how you acquit yourself in life, which forms the basis of remembrance. The season is unforgiving. I watched a flock of crows in a flooded stubble-field, picking at the last empty husks of grain where the rain had washed them clear. The next day the crows had gone, leaving only memories.
What comes of dying and falling? Consequence. The crows can tell. It seemed to me each crow was like a dark-winged lamp going down into the earth where ghosts had gone ahead. The ghosts themselves are all but extinguished. In the crow’s eye is a reflection – it is the lantern of the god who guides us past life.
So, what of acquittal? What really belongs to, and brightens, the Festival of Remembrance? Not the mere words, the hypocrisy, the wishful thinking. What can you say? Everyone acquits themselves differently, according to their path in life. It is not enough to say there is only one standard. Courage can be cowardice, failure triumph in the all-scrutinizing eye of the crow. But there is something about acceptance in the time of year. Humble acceptance of your path in life – and that fading light which is the honor of following it.
To remember honestly is all-important. And in the end there is no standard, flag or emblem except the one which is still there when the lantern of the god has reached its destination.
Crows create where ghosts have gone to earth –
in stubble-floods and grainless light they search
for consequence, what comes of dying and falling.
Each single crow, I think, is a lamp
sent ahead – who in their right heart will follow
their creaturehood where it descends to death,
not to die but to brighten the way
of dying, down into the last fright of ghosts?
And ghosts are all but extinguished down there
where the crow’s beak gathers a last unsouled husk.
What reflection is left in its black eye? –
the lamp of the god who guides us past life.
Now here is remembrance, there is acquittal –
and much that was said has not mastered the grave.
But the stubble-field is drained and dark,
with winter’s cold waste where the crows have fed.
Best wishes, today,
Picture: Destruction of Pompeii by John Martin
© Landar 2012. All rights reserved
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