Posts Tagged ‘death’

Haunting Beauty

departuresOccasionally a movie and its music are so welled matched that that the combination slips toward magical dimensions. I found that kind of enchantment with the Japanese movie Departures. The movie is a portrayal of treatment of the just-dead, done in such a way that you might find touching and thought provoking. There’s very little dying in the movie; the supporting characters have mostly passed that point.

A side effect of the movie was that I gained a new appreciation for the cello. Sometimes a melody resonates so vibrantly in your brain that it keeps transporting you. To somewhere. Else.

It’s probably best to see the movie first (Netflix currently works; consult youngsters for other ways to find it) before the music, but hopefully sampling the a  piece or two won’t ruin anything. Miraculously enough, the songs don’t seem readily available on iTunes at this point. But YouTube can take care of that, as those youngsters can tell (and show) you. (#18 and #19 are my favorites)

Sweet Dreams


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While the day of our entry and exit to/from this world are not normally something we could select even if we wanted to (and most wouldn’t want), there is one date combination that Americans might pick more than any other: to be born and die on Independence Day, July 4th. Last month I attended a memorial service of a woman, Shirlee Key, who had that distinction (about a 1 in 130,000 chance*), and from the stories of her life it was obvious that she was well loved and the distinctiveness of her life was not in those dates, but in a life well lived.

About a year ago Shirlee’s grandson, whom I knew, died tragically, starting my leisurely (or let’s say deliberate instead of slow) journey to write a poem. At that time I managed to get all the way through the title. Shirlee’s passing has motivated a completed Haiku version as a preliminary release; the final poem rendition, that’s a deep and touching thing of beauty, is scheduled for the very distant future.

The nice thing about creating a Haiku poem, as I practice it (using 5 – 7 – 5 syllables in three lines), is that you’re never more than 17 syllables from the end. Some Haiku-ists are not so adamant about the syllable count in English Haiku, seeings as the form developed in the Japanese language.

Anyway, here it is, a teensy-tiny glimpse of the transition to glory that’s ingrained in the Christian view of reality.

The Final Dawn

Eyes close one last time
Winter yields to sudden Spring
Wake to endless light


* The actual odds are not quite 1 in (365)2 since there are not equal chances of being born or dying on each day. But it’s close, since there are fewer deaths in the summer, but more births in the summer. Maybe something to look at in a future post.

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