Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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The Dead Lie

April 15, 2020

Christina Brown


The Dead lie, upside down in the earth’s gut, bodies shredded in sharp crags and rotting in pocked holes of rocks ancient with the terrors of time.

The Living dance, twirling on the dewy fields of cushioned green, faces washed in stars aged by the tumbling of time.

The spritely souls that tread on the spinning surface can’t see, can’t feel, can’t touch the fathomless decay that turns and turns and churns the loam soundlessly, steadily, endlessly…

Do the dead hear the echo of the calloused heel crunching a pinecone?

Do the living lament the legions lying under their pulsing bodies?

All the world is a graveyard, all the soil is a blanket. Gently it covers the broken voices of the past. Snowdrops hang their flowering faces and weep, reaching roots deep to entwine hands with the dead.


What lies with the dead is an unseen spark; ember-red earth mingled with ruby-red flame. A song gathers in the bowels of the earth, note by note – ringing, soaring, roaring in its caverns, rattling long-awaiting gemstones loose.

And then…


Their souls crowned with sapphire, eyes alight with emerald, the dead will rise, rise from the underside of the earth. Dusty fragments of bones will seep like mist from the soil, gathering under the heavens to re-form. The snowdrops will raise their heads and see a stripe of glory shooting across the sky. The stars will glow and the earth’s belly will heal:

The tremor of time will come.

And the living will look on and wonder…

But now, now under the fragrant jasmine and velvet twilight, can the living dance for the dead? Can they delight in what once was, mourn what is now, and watch for what will come?


Yes dance, dance all you that breathe and live and move.

But do not forget that resurrection surges beneath your feet.


This piece was originally published on Christina Brown’s website and published with Cultivating by request.

The featured image is courtesy of Julie Jablonski and is used here with her gracious permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project. 


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  1. Crippen Michelle says:

    I so love this and I think that it is even more apropos during this COVID-19 virus. It’s one thing to walk through an old cemetery and really not know anybody and less they were famous. It’s another to know that so many that we know and love now are facing the darkness of the grave. But not for forever. Love this. Thank you so much for putting such thoughts and the beautiful words and images for us.

  2. You are so welcome. Thank you for your kind words. I, too, think about the cemeteries and the places where poor souls laid to rest that never could afford a cemetery. It certainly gave perspective to the piece. I’m so glad that this piece was meaningful to you. And thank you for reaching out to tell me!

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