Lychgates – Signs and Symbols

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Lychgates, also sometimes called resurrection gates, are a curious English (though not exclusively) phenomenon.

The name derives from the Old English word lych, or lich, meaning body, referring to entrance to the churchyard though which the body of the deceased was carried. This was seen as the beginning of the path towards resurrection by being buried in holy ground.

In medieval times, signs and symbols carried a lot of weight as most of the population were illiterate. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to think that signs and symbols don’t carry as much weight today. We just have to read and understand them.

Poem: Your Kiss

English: A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek.
English: A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)I was unaware

 

I was unaware

of your kiss at first, on forehead

and cheek, maybe even on

my foot – you know, when babies’

feet are cute and pristine, before life

gets too serious and rinds the soul?

Then later, and with equal ignorance, I

noticed your lips, though they’d always

been there. Now the way you walked

and talked

and brushed your hair – suddenly

you were magic! A vision! My lips

against yours, the most natural

avenue in life and love. Then

all too soon, you gave me air

kisses at weddings

and christenings

and funerals, the social graces

that count, their passion sucked

out by convention. And right now

I’m all too aware of

your kiss, on my forehead,

my cheek once more, though you stay

clear of my foot. You realise

that I am slowly leaving, retreating

into soft make-beliefs

of self, sheaths which soothe

the cool airs of emptiness

 

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2013

Poem: The Creative

Enkidu
Enkidu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inspiration is a leech on the
creature of conflict. How much
better it would be if our lives were
merely plain and ordinary, transcending
this light and shade, our existence
reliant only on plucking fruit
from a tree, cupping clean
water from a stream; and that
all my words and lines,
such as they are,
derived solely from love and light.

But we’ve seen to it, you
and me, have decided
to find out and exaggerate
every little nuance we have, to look across
at each other from these
dubious divides with poison eyes, our fixed
minds like two scorpions in a bottle.
And what we can’t steal or bribe or starve
from each other, we will fight for
to the end, till every last
sap of strength and all our blood is gone –
for that sweet taste of victory.

We’ve all spoken these platitudes,
though only seldom act
or relent. Even in our shadowy beginnings
the weary Gilgamesh knew; primeval
battles between dark
and light still raging on inside.
His remorse and grief leap out
at us from figures in dried clay like
they were made today, a reflection
of ourselves, our tears,
the lessons never learned. So,
if you must – go ahead.
Do your worst! Though please
make it your best
and I will write, endlessly

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2013