“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”

In this funeral pyre,
Through the space between the logs
That I have been placed within,
I see the faces
Of people known to me.
Their faces made visible
In this dark new moon night,
By the fire’s light.
The fire that is glorious,
Whose flames have now reached
Quite a height.
My body is burning intensely,
Like would a fuel.

I hear the sound
Of the whole burning apparatus
Of which this body is a part.
It is the only sound I hear.
The silence of these people
Melts into the silence of the night.
Just like my body has begun to melt
In this fire, bit by bit.

Nothing of me is left anymore,
Gaining distance from me
Are the backs of these people,
I can see their faces no more.
No more is anyone recognizable.
My body’s turned into ash now.
I see a man pick up some ash,
The last man
To be out of my sight.
I now lay here as a pile,
Still, just like the night.

The bit of me,
That the man picked up,
Was let off into a sea,
Some part of me
Dissolved into the sea,
Remaining, settled over it’s bed,
Sedimented into a rock
Within a few thousand years.

Back to where the rest of the ash lays:
From the west the wind blows,
And takes another part of me
To the nearby grassland
And I mingle with the soil there,
Nourishing the grass.

It is morning now,
I see the caretaker of the cremation ground,
Who helped arrange the logs for my pyre,
Arrive.
He comes with a broom
Collects the left-over ash,
And empties it into a sack
That is almost full with ashes
Of the ones collected before mine.
He has lifted the sack upon his shoulder,
To transport it somewhere,
Exclaiming: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust!”

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