Off to Sunday Mass

I wrote this poem while thinking about life after death. Where do we go after we die? Is there life after death in the first place? Is it a Paradise or Heaven that we go to or more of the same as here on Earth?

On and on I pondered, and realised that if there was life after death, and it was going to be more of the same, I didn’t need it.

There is also the theological problem of religious belief: Buddhists believe in reincarnation back into this material world (no beginning, no end). However the Christian faith, and likewise for the Islamic faith, believe in our going into Heaven or Hell.

I was born Catholic, but have dabbled in Buddhism for close to five years now. But when asked about life after death, I do not choose either faith’s theory on where we might go. Instead, I opt to choose what I’ve always thought about death, that upon our last breath, we will experience nothing, into a blackness that isn’t really black, because we will not sense the blackness either.

Off to Sunday Mass

I.
Life after death, she says,
On and on forever;
No beginning, no end–
The thought! it made me shiver.

I thought it was a done deal,
A sentence I had served;
Living once is enough,
This I do not deserve!

They say better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all,
Well this I have done, and
Not yet recovered from that fall.

Sending me in once more,
Another life to live again?
No please! enough, enough!
Save me from life’s pain…

She tells me of places,
Certain designated spots,
Where I can choose death,
Or continue to be shot —

Shot by life’s painful arrows,
That are little soothed by its joys,
But what do you think I am?
One of God’s malleable toys?

The decision to live or die,
It is not easy to make.
A life that is once given
Requires courage to take.

If you give me not courage too,
The choice has no use;
I would carry on living
Even through the worst abuse.

As I was too scared to die,
I had bravely hung on,
Onto a life that seemed
In all matters all but long gone.

A broken man I was, by my
Last life’s last light,
Yet on and on I fought, till
I became too tired to fight;

On my death-bed I called
Out to a God I did not believe,
I scrambled the words,
Atheists my life decieved!

My final lie registered,
The world next I had slipped,
Thinking heaven or hell?
This must be it.

But looking around me,
I saw no St. Peter or God,
No winged angels with Halos,
And no Jesus Our Lord,

Instead I saw a wrinkled old woman,
Who looked at me and said,
Welcome to life after death.
At which I asked, Am I not dead?

II.
The old woman looked
At me, with a curious eye,
And said, Do you not
Know? You cannot die.

Buddhism you took up, boy,
Do you not remember?
Buddha had accepted you,
Some time last December.

God, you had said to me,
Had no place in your heart,
A direct route to Heaven
You therefore did part.

In accepting Buddhism,
You accepted no end,
Life you will live again,
Our rules we will not bend.

Right upon hearing that,
Away I wished to run,
God! I screamed,
What have I done?

III.
I awoke with a frightful start, and
Realised my white shirt dyed crimson.
A woman with tears in her eyes said,
Baby, you met with an accident.

A lovely face I had known so long,
But sadly never really saw,
Her face was awash with tears,
She looked to me so painfully raw.

From her face I could tell she
Thought I would soon die,
And to say I thought otherwise
Would have been a lie.

Yet seeing her so sad,
I said that I pained not;
It’s not as if, I told her,
In the head I was shot!

Sirens I then heard near,
And slowly I turned my head,
The ambulance had arrived! And soon
Enough to not declare me dead!

As I was being carried off
I looked at her and said,
Please girl, don’t cry,
This Sunday’s our date!

IV.
A beautiful Sunday morning,
It is soon to be dawn,
You can hear the children laughing,
And the birds singing their song.

My woman she looks stunning,
She’s wearing her favourite dress;
And off we go, where else?
But to Sunday Mass.

One thought on “Off to Sunday Mass

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