The life of the body

This entry is part 16 of 20 in the series Highgate Cemetery Poems


cemetery piano

The life of the body never ends—
this is why sensualists
are always so damn cheerful.
It goes on working down there
in that city the soil, busy
as a bodhisattva with 1000 arms
or a leaderless hive of bees.
The life of the body has
its own directive: to reproduce,
yes, but not only in the way
we think. Consider the big-
brained octopus, how its skin
can change in an instant to match
the color & pattern of the background
into which it wants to disappear,
shutting its eyes that do not see
in color, that never sleep.
The life of the body doesn’t end
at our borders. It’s a kind of music
that starts far below the pulse,
reverberating in the vast spaces
on either side of the present moment,
punctuated with every length of rest.

Series Navigation← If there were such things as ghostsThe Angel of Confession →

4 Replies to “The life of the body”

  1. Terrific.

    And it resonates. Been reading about the body, and watching a fascinating octopus video. This suits my mind. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for the kind comments, y’all. Deb, I think it was your sharing of that octopus video that made me add those extra lines in the middle yesterday, which much improved this over what went out via email the night before last. This was one of these poems where I got part of an idea and then stalled out, and had to force myself to finish it.

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