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Gwyneth Lewis – Ⅳ

Angel of Dying   




‘A young boy dying on a ward in Kabul

wouldn’t stop singing – made music from screams,

wouldn’t sleep, wouldn’t drink, but chanted dreams

in ferocious head notes. He frightened us all

but held his dying like a torch of flame

for us to follow. Arches leapt darkly overhead,

threw shadows over us. He led


on past comfort, past reason or blame

with that terrible energy of the dead

whose death is more life than flesh can bear,

a birth, not an ending. This truth tore

the living to pieces. Then silence sang of him instead…

I’ve never forgotten him. No, don’t ask

about dying. How to live is the task.’