[Above: Imogen, c. 1888, by Herbert Gustave Schmalz]
A Couplet from Shakespeare
by John Goodman
“Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.”
– Cymbeline, act IV, scene ii
Unless we place the corpse on ice,
‘til future science sets the price
Of plus ultra; such that when
the Christ returns to earth again,
His eschatological eye will gaze
On folk He has no need to raise.
Unless the Buddha was right to see
In life a circularity.
So dust is just another name
For what was once, will be again:
Dust, dung beetles, kudzu, stones,
Whose life, like yours, is never done.
Unless the trick is not to come
To dust, but to arise therefrom:
The molecules shaken and stirred,
Reconstituted at a word.
So let each golden girl and lad
Arise, O Lord, as Thou hast said.