All souls

Move over. Let them come in.
They are there, clamouring at the edge of the light –
whispering their lives. Listen.
Move over. Let them touch you, their cold fingers
on your heart, their paws, their claws,
the soft brush of a feather. Let their leaves
fall on your face again.

There are not enough tears to put out these fires.
There are not enough tears to carry these boats
down the river to the sea. There are not enough tears.

All Souls, and the priests bless the graves
with smoke and words and water. This is far
from plastic webs and monster masks and eyeball candy.
We are somewhere else now, a place where grief
is love and love is grief and there are not enough tears

to wash away the mess we’ve made. There are not enough tears
to clean our hands. But here, in this place, for a moment,
there are only tears. What else can we give?

Let them in. Let them sit with you, guests at your table.
Let them eat your love. Let them drink your tears.
Let them feed you with their pale hands. Let them remind you
to love the world. To love the world enough, to seek out
beauty, to stand amazed. Let them love through you.

Here, we balance past and future. We are transient,
slipping through time, trailing dreams and memories.
We bury our seeds deep in the winter soil. We hope they will grow,
that the trees we plant will feed some future child,
that a blackbird will peck the topmost apple,
that the soil will take back the ones that fall,
that someone will wonder who planted this tree,
here, in this place. That someone will be touched
by our pale shadow, by the warm breeze of our lost breath.

Our earthweal prompt this week is the last of the Cross Quarter Celtic festivals – Samhain – All Souls’ Day – Halloween – the Day of the Dead. It seems to be a festival we need – we’ve held on to it for a long time. I’ve really enjoyed writing these Cross Quarter prompts. In fact, this was the start of the Celtic year, so I guess we’ve come full circle. If you’ve read these prompts, I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

14 thoughts on “All souls

  1. So deeply moving: for sure there are not enough tears. The idea of letting the ghosts/guests sit with us is particularly poignant. I think it may be the only way forward.

    I believe I’ve taken part in all of your cross-quarter prompts, and I have found them enlightening and inspiring, thank you Sarah!

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  2. This is beyond beautiful or magical, ’tis holy. The hushed clamor of those “at the edge of light” are so present in this invocation, and the emotion we must behold it with — burdened so by the crushing guilt of our species — is one where we can only pray for forgiveness and the courage to write this so cleanly and clearly and gently. All I can say is: Amen, and let the Samhain prayers begin.

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  3. I never could understand how All Souls morphed into candy and goblins and plastic webs. Plastic everything. “Not enough tears to wash away the mess we’ve made.” Wow. And I love your second stanza. All beautifully written.

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