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October 31, 2008

(This poem is a first-draft, roughly influenced by an article from the current issue of Shambhala Sun.)

Charnel Ground

They walk beyond the village.
The old man’s face has slackened
in death. Eyes once creased, enfolding
decades of watching sun and wind,
now lay, like river stones, smoothed
and thinly lided.

The mountains surround like the ragged
teeth of the wild dogs. The ground,
for its steepness and coldness, welcomes
the bodies, proudly jeweling the valley’s
throat with human bones.

In a tide the vultures gather and sink.
The villagers have gone, leaving
the dead man to the earth.
Jackals prowl from the bush
in a starting rain. It is what men
have long craved– the dance of alchemy,
the transformation of death to life.

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