I am posting this as a reminder to myself to keep going. At this point I, Matt’s mom, am getting worn with the emotional effort, the time commitment, and the amount of self-restraint I need (so as not to vomit out something that will create walls between those who need to read these journals). So, I feel I need to return to the reason I decided to publish Matt’s writings. This poem. I first read this poem about a week after Matt died. This one little slip of stained paper spoke to me. It was not only prophetic, but it was symbolic of the end of my dear son’s struggles. It sums it all up. And, it deserves re-posting.
Do you appreciate good literature? If so, I suggest you look a bit closer at this piece.
Symbolism–beneath a common stone–Oh, how too common are grave stones. Really, don’t we only put things of great importance under stones? What else goes under a stone? What is a stone? It doesn’t grow. It doesn’t move. It marks a spot. It is dead. It is heavy.
Prophetic–Matt was buried under a granite stone. Was he speaking of his vision? He was told in vision from his great-grandmother and grandfather, both passed, that a casket was being carried. He couldn’t see the contents in this dreams though.
Antithesis–demons as well as dreams–such opposites, these two things are in opposition. The fight is over. Neither has won.
Immediacy of vision–that which you neglect to bury, burn instead–Those things which have been neglected by this life are too dangerous to be left here; they must be gone; they must be reduced to ashes.
Mystical essence of the human condition–they will rise like smoke to the Almighty–Human suffering serves a purpose. It must. This struggle must be sensed by the creator of Love, of the Soul, of this Reality. It is not the here but the above that will reach these realms.
Transcendence of archetypes–sending rains that wash away–Water given from above is a cleansing gift, welcome. The renewal of rain sprouts new growth by washing those things rotted, forgotten, considered useless, into something new.
As I stated earlier, this poem was one of the first readings I had after arriving at his apartment to cleanse it. (Purposeful crass referral) His roommates were very unlatched by finding him dead. I really believe death was not real to them, besides the occasional dead deer on the side of the road, they really never saw it. You do know that death in the US is taboo? I pondered at their fear, their reticence to say a word, their shock at this simple reality–we are all born to die. I believe they were thinking I was somewhat stoic. I’m not stoic; I am the opposite. I am comfortably unhappy with this reality. I am happy that there is another awaiting. They misread my peace. Oddly to many, I was happy upon reading this scrap of paper. It spoke fathoms about my son. This simple little poem had no scratches on phrases reworded, no thesaurus additions, no evidence of flourish meant to impress; it was pure human condition. As the title said, it hit the page, pure. It said this: “I am mature. I know what it means to be human. I do not love wealth, privilege, vanity. I want something better for myself and you. I have no chance of winning. No matter what, God must sense my sufferings. He must take notice. He doesn’t owe me anything. I am only the smoke that rises from my struggle.” My son died at the age of 25. However, my son arrived at a higher level of human understanding than most 80 year olds who I know. How many 80 year olds are willing to have everything burned? How many 80 year olds see the struggle between their demons and dreams? How many 80 year olds see their lives as a scent in the nostrils of their creator?
Upon re-reading this in my quiet home, I wept deeply; I wept because I was in the presence of true beauty as only seen through sorrow. How unfortunate that such great sorrow is necessary to see such beautiful truth–we must bury demons, we must burn everything material, we must hope that the expanse of God takes notice, we must suffer as He did, we must command those who are left to place a common stone upon all things lost–these are common occurrences of all humanity. We are no different, no better, no worse, and of no importance outside of God. As God suffered so must we, and this suffering is a sweet smell.
At that point I could smell the sweet smell of my son’s soul in the smelter of gold. How many parents can say that? I am truly blessed! My son, who was a 15-year-old for 8 years then proceeded to become the sage-on-the-mountain in 2 years; he was more of a man than anyone else I have yet to meet in his mid-twenties. I still weep over losing him, and have tears streaming down my face as I type, but these are not tears of desperation. These are tears of melancholy; they mark the joys of days past. They mark my desire to be more human than I have yet to be. These tears are the result of the burning of all that I cannot bury within myself.
I hope that with close reading others will see the wisdom held in these words. Being few, they are the result of the smelter of human suffering, which produces absolute truth. These words are the absolute truth of every last, single human-being on this Earth. What else can any of us hope for? What can any one of us expect? Truly, what is left when we are gone? Only our suffering is marked. Only our suffering has any value.
Bury these things
Demons as well as dreams
beneath a common stone
Lay to rest all that’s wasted.
That which you neglect to bury
The smoke will rise
reaching the nostrils of the Almighty.
He will sense your sufferings
sending rains that wash away what you couldn’t burn nor bury.
If anyone wanders along who is a scholar of poetry, please add to my analysis. I would appreciate your poetic appreciation of this piece.