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Passions in Poetry

Mourning

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Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


0 posted 09-03-2005 05:50 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Why this Christian tradition of mourning at a funeral?

It seems to me to make a sham of religion and their faithful
who go on in seeming faith before about Heaven and Hell;
the glorious life to come.

Is it a betrayal of the fact
that for most it’s all smoke and mirrors?

Let me admit personally, I hate funerals;
in that I am my dead father’s son.


Alicat
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since 05-23-99
Posts 4277
Coastal Texas


1 posted 09-03-2005 06:04 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Easy.  Christians are people too, with human emotions, memories, and general feelings.  Not all of them are mere consumers of oxygen and exporters of methane.
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
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2 posted 09-03-2005 06:05 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Why this Christian tradition of mourning at a funeral?

That's not a Christian tradition, John, so much as a reflection of humanity.

When my parents died, I was sad. When my sister moved to Nevada, I was only slightly less sad, the difference being I knew sooner or later I would likely head West and see her again (eight years later, I'm starting to wonder). When someone adds value to our lives I think it's only human nature to mourn the loss of that value.

I don't think that can easily be construed to mean I no longer trust in the existence of Nevada, though.
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
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Waukegan


3 posted 09-03-2005 06:21 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Alicat,

“Christians are people too”

Not all people, cultures, respond with grief.

Ron,

“That's not a Christian tradition, John, so much as a reflection of humanity.”

Humanity’s instinctual doubt or skepticism
beneath appearances?

As I’ve remarked before, Ernest Becker, in his “Denial of Death”
would have characterized religion as a lesser form of insanity
intentionally engaged in as a conscious alternative to the greater insanity
that would come with facing facts.
Alicat
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since 05-23-99
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4 posted 09-03-2005 06:23 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Care to name the cultures and/or religions that don't mourn their dead in some fashion?
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
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Waukegan


5 posted 09-03-2005 06:29 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Alicat,

Off the top of my head I’m thinking Buddhist cultures,
before they came into contact with the Western World.
I’m not sure of the old Viking dying with a sword in your hand bit.
My experience of the Okinawan attitude while I was stationed there
was moving.

John
Alicat
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since 05-23-99
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6 posted 09-03-2005 07:42 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

3 examples, and 2 of them are from very bygone ages.  The Viking influence was waning by the first millenia, and Eastern Culture was introduced to Western Culture with Marco Polo and Captain Cook.  Actually, a bit before then, since Istanbul (formerly Constantiople, seat of the Eastern Roman Empire) was a major trade hub between East and West.  Sadly, it was sacked for its wealth during the Fourth Crusade c. 1220 AD, not to mention being sacked by the Western Roman Empire during the waning years of their empire, before they in turn were sacked by the Huns, Goths, Visigoths, Vandals and Teutons c. 480 AD.  Where do you think the Romans got spices, ungents, silks, dyes, precious metals and gemstones?  Sure, a goodly amount of things came from within the empire, but the rest came from the Eastern routes.
Stephanos
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7 posted 09-03-2005 08:00 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

So John, are you upset with Christians for mourning too much or too little?  Because I agree with what Ron and Alicat mentioned, that mourning is simply part of being human, and I'm not aware of any culture where there hasn't been some form of it.  The very worst you could say is that Christians mourn too much ... but then again, Christian tradition from the very earliest writings where Jesus wept at Lazarus' death, has not condemned or denied mourning.  Rather it has tempered mourning with hope, and a consolation that death is not the end.  The fact that Christians mourn does not prove that they have no real regard for Heavenly things, only that they haven't forgotten what it means to be human.


But how many also criticize "celebratory" funerals as well, saying that Christians are not properly facing the gravity of death, and the mourning process?


And the Lord said, "To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like?  They are like children sitting in the market place and calling to one another saying:

'We played the flute for you
And you did not dance;
We mourned for you,
And you did not weep.'
(Luke 7:31-32)


Stephen
  
Alicat
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since 05-23-99
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8 posted 09-03-2005 08:08 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Yawp, and you should see some Christian and Muslim mourning practices, where professional mourners are hired.  The more mourners, the greater the family stature.  For the Christians, this is especially true for Mediterranean Catholics, and Eastern European Eastern Orthdox Catholics.
Essorant
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9 posted 09-04-2005 02:48 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I think funerals are most rich among folk that believe in afterlives because they believe thier loved ones, taken leave to the next life, yet hear and hold the gifts and farewell to them from those in this life, and hear our sayings and know our love, and there is the inspiration for a great gathering and rich giving.
I don't think funeral were earlier more about mourning and sharing mourning, than communication,  gift, and farewell to the one that was passed away seen as something that is received by the one they give it too: that loved one lives on in the after life.  
Perhaps people go to funerals more with a somewhat selfish mourning today, and belief that the memory of their loved one retained in themselves is the only thing that lives on about him or her.  But if they don't have the belief in their loved faring on in an afterlife, the funeral itself as a tradition still seems to live on as a tradition that betokens a belief in such.   People believed that their loved one should be going to the after life with such blessings as were bestowed on them at the sacred moment of his/her departure.  If they didn't believe such the moment had never been treated so sacred or ever continued in so many lines as a sacred tradition.  But even though the belief is somewhat diminished in some ways, the lines of the traditions founded in the belief, still continue to be drawn.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (09-04-2005 04:12 PM).]

Stephanos
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10 posted 09-05-2005 04:43 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Not all of them are mere consumers of oxygen and exporters of methane.



Oh, I dunno ... I'm really good at these, especially the latter.



Stephen
Sunshine
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Listening to every heart


11 posted 09-05-2005 06:43 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

I'm personally going to throw a party. And the first one that cries in his beer? Will probably get hugged, just for bringing reality along.

Martie
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12 posted 09-05-2005 08:12 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

I don't much like funerals either, but I have mourned, and continue to mourn.  I guess the best way to tell you about it is with a poem.  I hope you don't mind.

This Side of the Glass

Perhaps it is on this side of the glass
the fog layers meaning
so I cannot see  
this crusted me
dense with storm

I cannot
sing this sweetly winter
for the waiting is February dreading
the wallop of time
that takes me back to such numbness
where friends cry
and the mother sits in blank chair
taped up with cold cloth
around her words with no breath no tears
no no

I watch my sky down darkly move
into the cold earth memory that sinks me
where rivers only stop in mourning once
and then take the ride to the tide
away away

Perhaps it is on this side of the glass
where the moss grows
damp greenly into eyes all empty waiting
waiting for February dreading
to wallop time
again
again
no no
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


13 posted 09-05-2005 11:02 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Well, at least we got one good poem out of all this . . .
Martie
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14 posted 09-05-2005 11:27 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

I really wish I didn't, but I have many poems about mourning.  Check out my home page link under Michelle.
hush
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since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


15 posted 09-07-2005 12:23 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Uh, have you ever seen black people at a funeral? They tend to be much more joyful and celebratory of the person, rather than somber and sad. To my knowledge, all of the black poeple I have witnessed at funerals and/or times of mourning/illness have been christians, as African Americans tend to profess the joy for their faith as boisterously as they do their love for the person.

Not to make a stereotype or anything, just my experience in a nursing home. And, incidentaly, the only ray of sunshine at my grandfather's funeral was his black buddy from dialysis, Roger, who kissed grandpa's dead forehead, made sure he had plenty of coke in the coffin, and instantly volunteered to be a pallbearer when we were one short. Too bad all the stuffy old white people were busy with that "mourning" business- my mom (being the home health nurse, she was probably the only one aptly equipped to approach a black guy without a "hairspray"-esque fear) had to tell him to tone it down.

Incidently, when my mom died, I mourned, and still mourn, and I don't even believe in God. Hm. Go figure, Ron was right.
Midnitesun
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16 posted 09-07-2005 01:26 AM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

well, I had a reply until I read Martie's post
now...I can only sit and touch the screen and say,
each must find his/her own private way to mourn,
to make it through the dark night to the next morn
and for me, it has NOTHING to do with religion...
it's simply the heartbeat that gets stuck in your throat when someone you knew is no longer there....
Alicat
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since 05-23-99
Posts 4277
Coastal Texas


17 posted 09-07-2005 10:16 AM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Well Hush, I agree with you in part.  For a time, I lived with a West Indian family, he from Trinidad, she from Barbados.  I was friends with their youngest who was a few years my junior.  They were both well on in years, and when he passed from cancer there was a viewing and wake, and the general mood was happy, or at least not morose.  However, nightly the wracking sobs from behind locked doors would echo through the house.  Public face and private reality.
Jamie
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since 06-26-2000
Posts 3219
Blue Heaven


18 posted 09-14-2005 12:47 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

It isn't mourning the person's death  so much as it is mourning the living's loss. Big difference there. I think most religous people really believe the departed are in a better place, they mourn because as a result of the departing, theirs is diminished.
Larry C
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Member Patricius
since 09-10-2001
Posts 10765
United States


19 posted 09-14-2005 01:05 PM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

I hope to be back to reply...

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

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