As a young person I was oblivious of death, and this was represented by my favorite poem in college, Dylan Thomas’ “Fern Hill,”
(first stanza) “Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green, The night above the dingle starry, Time let me hail and climb Golden in the heydays of his eyes, …”
I didn’t pay much attention, or even comprehend the aspects of the poem that dealt with aging and the limit to life.
(last stanza) “… Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, Time held me green and dying Though I sang in my chains like the sea.”
Read the whole poem HERE.
As we age, we notice death occurring more frequently, coming closer and closer to home. Now I appreciate Thomas’ poem in its fullness as people close to me pass away, with the upsurge of deaths globally due to COVID19 and gunning one another down becoming normalized self-expression.
Death can be denied as a “leftist conspiracy” which can be snubbed by ignoring health guidelines and standing aloof from the community struggling to save lives with vaccines. Some of us would kill to keep and use their stockpiles of guns and ammunition. Attitudes manifest about “inferior others” being expendable to keep “us the best humans” on top. Many think it wrong for a former policeman to be convicted of murder for brutalizing an “inferior” detainee to death.
In America minimizing death often goes along with the doctrine of personal liberty. Independence and individualism are cited as values essential to the presumed ultimate state of being: “freedom.” But, what is called “freedom” often means having no responsibility to anyone other than myself and those I choose. It implies that I am not connected to anyone or anything else — unless I want to be.
This is a remnant of the brute animal in humanity. But we have become aware of being part of a greater whole.
Love is the energy that is creating this Whole and all that is needed for life, including the capacity to moderate our anti-social behaviors. Love revolutionizes our self-centeredness by awakening us to our universal connection to each other and all of Creation. Being so connected, we care for, respect, defend, heal, reform, nurture and promote the good for all beings and things; we join with those in pain and trouble, walking with them seeking well-being together.
… because it is us we are shooting, hacking down, polluting and draining the life out of. Is this not self-hate? We do not do such things to those we love.
“Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I John 4:7-8