Weighing the Soul

The poem was inspired by the cliff scene from the Swedish horror drama ‘Midsommar’, that depicts a ritual called Ättestupa. It is based on the premise of senicide, where at 72, the elderly cult members throw themselves off a cliff. Such a ritual is historically inaccurate, but it made me wonder of the myriad forms of approaching death, this one voluntary and clearly without a history of mental distress, it felt like a horrific and painful euthanasia. Ari Aster’s movie reeks of death but even so, the actors are all marvellous, the cinematography excellent, the premise of the film absolutely bizarre and overall, a movie that stayed with me because I actually enjoyed it. It is quite a work of art.

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A promise was inscribed at the cliff edge of reason / What were the birds and the butterflies thinking / to fly without a harness / seeking salvation as simply as wading / through water like a seal / and coming up short of breath //

The soul feels ill prepared for what comes next / Transmogrify and perhaps / it can become a dove on it’s way down / through the sheer intent of words //

Promises made to the heart / that love will make the soul buoyant / as it will float finally like loose feathers / once the weighted bird hits the rocks far below //

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I hope my readers don’t find the theme of this poem too morbid, this movie was quite bizarre, yet so creative. I had to translate the scene to speak for beliefs I think people have, that seem to provide for faith strong enough to jump to such a painful death, even if this particular ritual is historically inaccurate.

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