Dust to Dust

By Tracy Keenan

February 15, 2015

These bodies of ours.
These earthly tents[1] in which we live on this earth,
these tents in which we roam
and sleep and carry ourselves about.
We are attached to these bodies. More than attached.
They are who we think we are
because they are the only way we know to be.
Life is bigger than this,
and yet this is the only way we know
to experience life’s enormity.


You are dust and to dust you shall return.


It strains the imagination.
Stardust to earthdust
does not sound anything like
the source and destination we envision.


These earthly tents do give out.
They wear out, they damage, they break.
We can mend them sometimes,
but they do not last forever


These souls of ours, too, can be worn down,
damaged, can even broken.

God save us from that kind of death.

Dust?
We cannot remember our previous dustness

and cannot bear to envision such a future.

We are spirit, we are life,
we are soul and thought and feeling
and love and anger and yearning.
Where does that fall in the body? 
Here.
Perhaps here.
And here.
But “here” does not last forever.

We cannot separate ourselves from these tents we inhabit,
and the prospect horrifies us.
It’s a world of life and death,
inhabitation and then not.

We pitch our tents here.
We will not be moved.
Until we are.


We want to be free of the earthly limitations,
but death is our greatest sorrow, grief, and fear.

dusk to duskWe are more than these tents.
And yet when the tents are gone,
where do we go?
These bodies that hold us
cannot hold us forever.
You are dust and to dust you shall return.


But are we not more than dust?

The breath that breathes in our temporary lungs
     is the breath that breathed the world into existence.
And when our lungs are dust,
     our hearts are dust,
     our brains are dust,
that which is God-in-us will still be.
Our truest selves will still be.

This is how much God loves us:
God breathes through our lungs,
     sees through our eyes,

     chooses to live in this tent
          on this earth
          in this form.

And that one.
And that, too. 

We are one mad dance of Godness.
Oh look. Oh see.
See with your tent flap eyes the breath of God
    lifting eddies of dust through the screen.

Clear your throat.
It is some of me,
     some of them,
     some of you,
     some of us.

It is homedust,
     it is where we come from
     and where we return

     when the camping trip is over.
We’ll fold up our tents and leave them in the dust
    and be amazed that we ever thought they were all we were,
    that we ever thought we were separate
    or alone.


NOTE: This is a slightly edited version of the one I posted here February 15, 2015.

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