Life or Death?

Which is the greater perplexer?

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where:
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot.
William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

Life and death

The scientific mysteries of life

In a mechanical universe

Mirrors the enigma of death

In a fully living animistic one.

Our ancestors inhabited a world

Where warm, moving bodies

Would regularly stop, grow cold, and decay.

As puzzling as life is for us,

So was death for them.

But we moderns still feel the influence

Of ancient solutions to the death puzzle.

The whistling of the wind,

The changing phases of the moon,

The twinkling, turning stars—

These eternal celestial bodies move as they will.

But, what happened to the will of the warrior

Whose heart had beat so hot a moment ago,

And is now a cold corpse in a pool of blood?

Death or life,
Which is the grearter perplexer?


Poetry by Ashe
Read 703 times
Written on 2017-08-22 at 17:54

dott Save as a bookmark (requires login)
dott Write a comment (requires login)
dott Send as email
dott Print text

Jamsbo Rockda The PoetBay support member heart!
This is a wonderful thought provoking piece. No matter how advanced we get as a society these same questions stay with us.

Death or life,
Which is the grearter perplexer?

very true
we live life... forever in its arms and we all have to meet death and rest in its lap.

A beautiful read.. very layered

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
The more I read this poem, the better I like it. It raises very interesting questions. Modern science can't explain life. Actually, it makes the idea of life as something unlike other physical and chemical processes seem ridiculous. Animism sees life in everything, and, if that's the case, how can some things die?

Christopher Fernie
Dear Ashe,

If it's any help I 'died' for several minutes after a heart attack in 2002. I was resuscitated in the ambulance and told that I had only fainted.

I had stranger explanation; in my state of unconsciousness I 'saw' a jet black tunnel and had the sensation of falling. As I fell I 'heard' a voice telling me that it wasn't my time yet and that I had to go back.

After that I felt myself being sucked towards a light, and opened my eyes on reaching that light, to behold the faces of my wife and the paramedics looking down at me. I didn't tell anyone about my experience until some months later.

Well, I'm still here 15 years on and enjoying my second chance. The other good thing about this whole episode is that I get to celebrate two birthdays, the first in October, the second in November on the day of the reprieve.

I'm still a teenager, yippee!

With very best wishes,


PS I don't expect a birthday poem... unless you absolutely insist, that is.

one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
i think these lines:

But we moderns still feel the influence

Of ancient solutions to the death puzzle.

is the answer. ancient solutions were free of complexities that bark at us every waking moment. it's in us, the ur knowledge, deeply buried, but i think that's where we could find some certainties that lie beyond such things as faith.

a thought inducing poem, bookmarked.

Kathy Lockhart The PoetBay support member heart!
This is a great poem, Ashe.
I believe all have contemplated the unknown of what's over the horizon, the unseen.
All of us will face it.
Life is still a mystery for we never know what tomorrow will bring to say the least.
And death, well that door is open to the faith or belief of the living, until death shows us different.

Thanks for sharing,
kathy :)