A chance perusal of the June 2011 issue of EnRoute magazine on my New York-Toronto flight last weekend led me to the happy discovery of the poetry of Brian Brett, winner of the First Prize in Poetry in the 2010 CBC Literary Awards.
To Your Scattered Bodies Go: A Suite of Poems is equal parts ode to and lamentation on mortality – vivid, exciting, sad and comforting all at once. Let “Take off Your Clothes” inspire you to abandon your fears and see if you find “The Many Moments” and Brett's description of the translation of our essence as perfect an articulation of your own world view as I do.
We'll start you off with the opening poem in the suite:
At the round earth's imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go.
– John Donne, Holy Sonnets
TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO
And I awoke in the thunder of those trumpets,
the bright lights and the sirens of the ass-slappers,
and I was but one of many awakenings, stars
numberless and bright beyond the galaxies,
human and insect, striving and writhing,
as we came tumbling over the walls
where we returned, tumbling again, full of arrows
and bulbuls and radiation and smiling and loving
and dying in our gentled beds, hands held
by many fingers and the gaze of love, tumbling
into light and rivers, dodging crocodiles and not
dodging crocodiles, to your scattered bodies go
and then shrug them off in the Magellanic cloud
and the Mindanao deep, life all the way back
to the big bang, and the bang we don't hear,
the one that strikes the heart and the lung and perforates
our spine as we crazy dance into the trenches of lovers
and weeping children and playing children and lost children,
all the scattered bodies of time and life like pearls
in the night sky appearing and disappearing in the fog.