The Yin and the Yang …in Eastern thought, the two complementary forces that make up all aspects and phenomena of life.


Allow me to be morbid
To think of death
The afterlife
My next life

When life is now so full
It is not seemly
And not to be countenanced
To tempt fate
With supposition
Of a dubious kind

And yet I do
I do because I am
And the I that I am
Needs to contemplate
Beyond the now
Into the shadows of the future
The mysteries
Of my dust
My ashes

Not reincarnation
Because there will be
No me to be reborn
Merely a redistribution of
My dust and an accompanying
Acquisition of a sensate soul
To replicate a birth
An existence
And an organic life
In Nature’s cyclic motion

No out-of-body experience
Has persuaded me of this
No religious faith has
Swayed my thought

On the borderlands of life
I pause to contemplate
My future
Beyond the Pale
In That No-Man’s-Land of the imagination
That Heaven or that Hell awaiting

My next existence
The I who will not be me
Frightens me
The diversity of possibilities
For my re-formed dust to inhabit
Allow me no certainty
For there can be
No sense of continuity
Only, as now,
An unawareness
A not-knowing
 Of what has gone before
And of what will succeed me
The me that is not me
New flesh, new history
New mind, new destiny
But without
Any sense of newness
No connection to the past
The same not-knowing
About the future

I could be so much worse off
And yet I know
it will not be me
Not someone who remembers
The pleasures which have pleasured me
The joys which have made me joyous
Or the loves which enchanted me
For I will be he
Or she
Or it
Just someone who exists
Painfully sentient
Plausibly penitent
Perhaps rejoicing
In a life
As I do now
In that life
I am afraid to leave



‘Nature’s Query’ … Photograph – WHB  2016 ©



12 thoughts on “AN AFTERLIFE

  1. Deep and powerful poetry Roland. I often wonder what my thoughts would be if I hadn’t had the pleasure of a Catholic chiildhood indoctrination. Now my thoughts are more shamanic in their origin life and death feel more connected. A lot to ponder in this Roland and I shall be revisiting it over the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Roland, let me first say how beautiful and touching I find your photo.
    Your poem is very strong and full of deep questions and emotions. e.g. ” My next existence
    The I who will not be me
    Frightens me”.
    Many answers out there but surety…that is another matter.
    I do love your last stanza. Fearful and yet positive about your life. Might it not be that the same spirit will survive?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel an envy for those who can be more positive than I am about the after life. No doubt it is comforting, but I can’t get past the logic of the situation and the thought that what the human race has built up for itself is an edifice which supports it through the difficulties and pain of loss. I do thank you for your comments, Miriam.


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