When you bear me away in the rustling night,
Will you tender me like a jewel of a star,
Will you dance me high and fly me far,
And show me again the world’s delight?
Will you secret me away deep in your heart,
As we spiral away on a midnight gale,
Bright black wings setting us sail
When from this realm we finally depart?
When you carry me away will you lay me to rest
Up upon the silver crown of the moon
And lay me down in a lover’s swoon,
On a bed of feathers as my nest?
Will you sing to me softly a lullaby
Of ashes to ashes, and dust to dust,
And return me to God as return I must?
Will you help me say my final good bye?
Beautiful Raven, with feathers so black,
And when it is time, will you bring me back?
*Author’s Note: Again, didn’t have a clue as to what to write and so I made it a topic on my Facebook page. My friend Ray suggested “raven” and I’m thinking, “Oh, HELL! This has been done before and by Edgar Freaking Allan Poe. What am I going to say that hasn’t been said perfectly once before? And it’s a famous piece! Oh my God, Ray hates me. But I stuck to it like a good girl and I am glad I did.
My first thought was to write about the night my mother died. I was there when she passed away. I was twelve years old, she had cancer and I heard her death rattle. I am still unsure what I “felt” that night but I remember I went from watching her form in her bed to staring at the ceiling. It was like I was watching her spirit leave and whatever had come to take her away, felt like it had a multitude of black wings. I understood why our ancestors felt that ravens and crows were psychopomps, or escorts of the spirits of the newly dead to the afterlife. I didn’t want to write about that, though.
I went on Wikipedia–my favorite source–to read up the common raven. Fascinating stuff. They can live up to 40 years in captivity, 21 years in the wild. They tend to mate for life. They are highly intelligent and play games, even with other species. In mythologies around the world, they are known as the Trickster and the Creator. Some stories say their feathers were once white and that hanging the moon, sun and stars–and a fire brand–caused its wings to turn black from the smoke. In Native American lore, as a totem, they are thought to be the keeper of secrets, but also, the ones who teach you when it is the time to tell it. They are even thought to be healers. From the Vikings, we have the two ravens of Odin–Hugin and Munin–Thought and Memory. I really thought I wanted to write about that. But as you can see, I didn’t.
Despite what my mind wanted, my heart wanted to write about Death, the Grim Reaper, the Ferryman. We will all get to meet him one day, won’t we? Only, I am going to whisper in his ear, “I saw you once…the night my mother died. I saw you.”
(On a final note, please listen to “The Promise” aka “The Heart Asks Pleasure First” by Michael Nyman. I did and it helped me to write this poem.)