A Poem on Thursday

The Beauty of Death XIV by Khalil Gibran 
Part One - The Calling (abridged)

Let me sleep, for my soul is intoxicated with love and
Let me rest, for my spirit has had its bounty of days and nights;
Light the candles and burn the incense around my bed, and
Scatter leaves of jasmine and roses over my body;
Embalm my hair with frankincense and sprinkle my feet with perfume,
And read what the hand of Death has written on my forehead.

Dry your tears, my friends, and raise your heads as the flowers
Raise their crowns to greet the dawn.
Look at the bride of Death standing like a column of light
Between my bed and the infinite;
Hold your breath and listen with me to the beckoning rustle of
Her white wings.

Come close and bid me farewell; touch my eyes with smiling lips.
Let the children grasp my hands with soft and rosy fingers;
Let the ages place their veined hands upon my head and bless me;
Let the virgins come close and see the shadow of God in my eyes,
And hear the echo of His will racing with my breath. 

Yesterday I learned that a friend from my time studying in Boston drowned during a flash-flood in Djibouti.  He was working with MSF (doctors without borders) assessing the impact of TB, HIV and malnutrition amongst children in rural Djibouti.  Bala was an amazing man, with few pretentions. His loss to the international public health and TB-communities will be deeply felt.  The loss for his friends and family will be greater.  I can think of nothing else to say, except that he will be missed.  Terribly.

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