Omar Sakr is a poet and editor The Lost Arabs is out now with the University of Queensland Press
Thursday Poem: The Traveller-Heart by Vachel Lindsay
I’m going to keep this brief, poetry lovers: have you ever wondered how you’re going to die? Of course you have, you’re human – in some way or other, it lies behind everything we say and everything we do. On that same wavelength, we also spend an inordinate amount of time considering how to best to deal with our mortal remains. We burn our bodies, we bury them deep in the ground, we fling them into the sea, we build temples around our desiccated bones, pyramids and tombs, fill with fields with crosses and stones and statues, and we have done so since the beginning. Now, you can have your remains turned into diamonds or turned into trees, or sent into space. We are, and ever have been, creative with death.
This simple but beautiful old poem, The Traveller-Heart by Vachel Lindsay deals with this question, posit’s the poets thoughts in a traditional rhymed stanza. Now there’s not too much to it, so I won’t quote from it here – all I will say is that my heart lies firmly with Vachel’s, in wanting to lie in the deep and sacred earth.