TITANIA: Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
Fairies, begone, and be all ways away.
So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist; the female ivy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee!
A falling star is neither a star nor falling, but something lesser striving to be luminous.
For dark things born of dust cannot stay alight for long,
But shall we not be brilliant even once without dying?
The thing about death is that it's cheap. It's free. Everybody gets one. They've been handing them out for centuries and the lines are short.
You can get reasonably far as a writer on topic: death. The songs are poignant, or else over-the-top comic. The poetry is sublime. The murals are semisweet. The children prance to our doors on Halloween in sheer mockery. The skeletons march in Mexico. Two dimensional stellae ooze fourth dimensional depth across zodiacal ages.
We fear this free stuff. You get what you pay for. Death is therefore worthless. So we attempt to define its value in terms like "life after" and "courageous"; otherwise the lump in our guts becomes an emotional expression which we pray won't be equally dark and valueless, but rather a point of valor. If we must, then we should die well, suggesting it's possible to not.
On the other hand life glitters. Life is strange. In a universe so huge we're sure things have happened in it we can never know, we're certain that life is an improbable rarity. That in the infinity of time life is only here, now. And whether we are right or not, most of us believe that.
And yet we do not marvel in the gorgeous synergy of planetary rotation and molecular bonding that gives rise to our consciousness.
Because like death, it's free. And so to some, worth exactly what we paid for it.
To this we associate the underlying parameter motivating our coming to existence, and the reason to continue despite the freebie that casts us into the dispassionate wind as anonymous dust to which we all return.
There is something in that spark of living that we brought with us from the before, that reminds us there was a before, and will be an after.
Love is much bigger than death yet equally free. And there is no one who suffers from it who can of perfect mind deny the soul-evaporating destruction to which we submit ourselves when we succumb to it.
This is the true fear, then. It is not death. It is the knowledge that within the grasp of true defense-annihilating love we subject ourselves to the possibility we will be utterly, thoroughly, conquered. Subjugated.
We all pray for that servitude. We consume and write stories about it. We sing every song to it. Write every poem. Smear every brush stroke. Snap every shutter.
It is for love and the wish of it - that we no longer have to fight. To experience the true glory of the grasp of being. Then death itself matters not. Nor life. To say forever and truly,
From where the sun now stands in the sky
I am yours forever.
I remember clearly, the day before I died it was warm and sunny and we hiked the St. Joseph's hill next to our home. And on the way down we encountered a woman in a wide brimmed hat and bright clothes who seemed to lack a grasp of reality. A drunk girl. Someone very high. Someone hallucinating so vividly the starlings fell from flight in front of her.
We passed her and then she scurried to be in front of us only a few steps ahead. While she moved she appeared to be pulling tiny objects from an imaginary bag and casting them to the wind.
And then I saw these feathery creatures glowing in the sunlight, taking off toward the clouds as she released them, her thumb and forefinger making a perfect circle, grasping a glint of starlight, then opening.
I didn't say I saw them. You didn't, either.
Then she stopped and released one right in front of me. Because she stopped so fast, and she was acting so strange that we knew we wanted to pass her to be away from her, because our momentum carried us, I walked right into this glowing being.
At first I was sure she had cursed me. The pain in my gut absorbed my every thought, stole my sight while I fainted, and shook me back to life like a cop waking a drunk in the tank - to find myself in a hospital under the pall of powerful intravenous drugs through which everything was scoured colorless.
After I died I saw she had released to me an angel, who escorted me back, whispering always, "Remember this gift. She who loves you truly has paid dearly for it."
Whether anyone believes me is irrelevant, and whether I am disparaged is insignificant to consider. Because the now of it is forever. "How I love you," said the arms in which I lay entwined. "Oh how I love thee," you sang.
Now it is done, never to be un. Now it is unerasibly written. Now it is forever sung, the radiation pouring outward into the ever-space of all creation, weakening spherically as R-squared until it is undetectable by whales and aliens alike, and yet always being, however insubstantial, just as the uttered desires of God when he turned on the lights.
When I returned to your arms, you stroked my hair, then damp with sweat. Adjusted the tubes and dials. Lifted the arms with which I used to bench my weight but could not maneuver even to replace the warm, tired pillow.
"You are not allowed," you said. "I forbid. In time, perhaps. Of course. But it is not yet."
To this I am demanded, then. Subjugated. Imprisoned.
To life, a gift rare and refined. Not tenuous and fragile, but brilliant. Worthwhile. Enormous and glorious.
And true. This one thing.