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They had said their goodbyes, bidden their farewells
And now they poured out their souls in buckets of tears
Boiling up from inside; tears of pain and loneliness.
They watched as the undertaker solemnly took up a shovel
And began seal the grave with the dust and earth
From which he himself came, and to which he will return.
Not a word was said until everyone stood, turned and left.
The family shuffled out of the cemetery, downtrodden
When yet their loved one's strife had just commenced.
The body now awaits the worms and maggots
While the soul gazes at the black-shirted backs
Of the people, as if it knew them only long ago.
A faint cry of the soul's former name is heard,
But then stifled by a sonorous voice that calls
"Ascend, my child, for your time has come!"
The soul turns its face upwards obligingly
And hovers gently up to a thick, white cloud.
Now faced by a prestigious Judge, dressed in white,
And by his sides, four fiery seraphs stand tall.
In front, a glorious and ornamented balance
Made of pure gold stands shimmering brightly.
Myriads of angels and spirits gaze intently
From ambient clouds, eagerly awating
The new arrival of a noble and pure soul.
The white-bearded Judge declares boldly,
"Bring forth the deeds that have been done!"
An angel with a silvery halo steps forward
Carrying a burdensome white sack with him
And stops by one side of the magnificent scale.
He lifts his load and begins to empty out
Each good deed that was once performed by the soul,
Who now watches anxiously, smiling at every
Radiant and snowy sphere of light, each one
Glistens more brilliantly than the former.
As the last one is placed gently on the pile,
Everyone basks in its warm emanation.
The Judge nods solemnly, hiding a smile,
And a monstrous demon, dressed in black,
Heaves a red sack and halts opposite the angel.
He starts to pour out the sins that were committed,
Each one engulfing the light that surrounds it.
The soul stares, bewildered, wondering
How the smallest evil weighed so heavily.
When the last one falls, the crowd gasps in awe
For surely what they behold cannot be!
The cups of the balance rest level, not tipping
So much as a hair, and the sky falls silent.
The Judge's eyes are now widened, and his voice booms,
"The scale has balanced! Neither hell nor heaven triumphs!
What is to be done now with this miserable soul?"
The spectators burst out in raucous, shouting their opinions,
"Elevate it to heaven!" "Damn it to hell!"
Woe to such a wretched ethereal spirit!
Quarrels break out into a violent frenzy
Of fire and ice, light and dark, good and evil.
The sky lights up in flames and the earth trembles in fear,
Savage demons burst forth from their infernal dominion
And invade the celestial sanctuary of the heavens,
While mighty archangels draw their swords of Justice,
Combatants in the eternal strife of wills.
Angelic swords clash with demonic horns
And balls of flame collide with rays of light
Ever trying to out-stand and defeat the other.
The poor, miserable soul hides from the fracas,
Curled up in fright and aghast with the fire it sparked
It shudders with every horrifying strike.
But then, the mighty Judge lifts it up in his palm,
"Fear not, my child, for you have been redeemed!"
He declares with a smile. "Behold, the letters and words
Of the prayers of your blood-bound kin and comrades,
Fallen and alive; they have bestowed the favor
Of the Heavens upon you! Be not afraid,
For you have brought upon them their own redemption.
In Heaven and on Earth, Justice will prevail.
Fear not, my champion. The Evil is subdued!"
The soul glances up at its new luminous nimbus,
Its halo of triumph, its crown of victory,
And then down, to its loved ones, and smiles.
They look up, and as if they witnessed it all,
They smile warmly in return at their fallen angel.
Their love has lasted, like an undying rose,
And upon their loved it has cast eternal repose.
-Ari Gilder, 12/16/01
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