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an unbelievable shrieking

14 November 2010 one comment

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae (excerpt)

I saw these words over and over this past Veteran’s Day.  I had actually seen them a few days earlier, at a performance of Eternal Light: A Requiem by British composer Howard Goodall.  Among several original pieces of musical work set to the words of the Latin requiem, several poems had also been selected, and this one was included.  I got to thinking about the voices of the dead, where I’d heard of them, and how they spoke.

The way is shut.
It was made by those who are Dead,
and the Dead keep it,
until the time comes.
The way is shut.

J.R.R. Tolkien; The Return of the King

Last night it had been my father who had finally said it, ‘She’s never coming home.’ A clear and easy piece of truth that everyone who had ever known me had accepted. But he needed to say it, and she needed to hear him say it.

Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

Ὦ ξεῖν’, ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε
κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι

(as rendered by Frank Miller, in the graphic novel 300)

Go tell the Spartans, passerby:
That here, by Spartan law, we lie.

The day that I came home
I didn’t come alone
The captain walked up to the door
Daddy knew what he’d come for

Dustin Bogue, Proud (listen and buy)

One Comment »

  • Emily said:

    “Funny how when you’re dead, people start to listen.”- The Band Perry