|'Call of the Raven,' Lindsey Kustusch.|
The raven is death who comes for each and every man (linguistically sounds better than person) when his time has come. Those who are attached to the things of this world fear death as their enemy who comes to steal them away from all that they cherish and love. Yet for those who are detached from this world, and who live under the shadow of the Cross as their shelter, death is welcomed as the friend who will at last deliver them from the bondage of this exile, to be at last reunited in perfect bliss with their Beloved in paradise. Vain is all that man carries out in this life, except if it be carried out for love of God, “since one fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice.” (Ecc 9:2a). No one can escape the raven. All must face her on a set ‘today’. Wise is the man who keeps daily before his mind the image of this raven, for to recall one’s pending death is a constant motivation to make the most of living – not in vain pursuits, but in the pursuit of love and in the collection of crosses which form the currency of heaven. Those who abide in Christ and possess the inheritance of the Resurrection in glory, say to this raven: “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” (1 Cor 15:55). For as St. Paul says: “I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39). In the confidence of this love let us pray to God that we do not flee in fear from this raven when she comes. The Eagle who is Christ is always above us, and the Dove who is Mary is ever perched upon the shoulder of our soul by means of our constant supplication in the ‘Hail Mary’: “pray for us now and at the hour of our death”. We need not fear when this raven comes, or how this raven comes. Be it day or be it night, may we be ever ready to face this feathered friend / with expectant grin.
At entrance of valley of bones dry
Looms craggy arch upon which doth perch
Back and solemn still
Except for head which darts
With beady eyes that gleam with creepy stare,
Shifting head with scythe-like beak
From east to west, then west to east,
Poised with frequent flaps for sudden flight.
Off that raven goes with eerie squawk
As feet they scratch that rocky arch.
Sounds six times about
In valley drab and dark,
With foreboding intervals of quiet
A sign that someone’s breath
Will soon depart their mouth no more,
Since raven comes with beak and claw.
There she lands at bedside, in the field,
And on the garden porch where whistles
Some look surprised to see her,
Some smile with expectant grin;
Most flee in fear or wish they only could,
Petrified with frozen limbs.
No matter if they scream or smile
That raven’s there to tear flesh from soul.
O when will thou come O feathered friend
To claim my mortal life as shiny
Gem for nest?
O it matters not
When thou come or how I go,
But this, proud bird I’d like to let thee know:
That though soon thou eat my flesh,
Soon on eagle’s wings I’ll take it back
When thou art dashed upon that rocky arch.
So come my raven friend, fear not;
For here I await thy welcome squawk.
26th November, 2015.