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The Peace of the Dead (a Piece of the Dead).                





To be read as if accompanied by the music of a slow dance (perhaps a Courante or Sarabande) anyway performed in 6/4 time.





Beckett’s ‘Not I’ writ large, writ communally; Not We. Not us. Not them. We do not forget. Not Them. (Or ‘not I’ as the (untold) story of guilt, a guilt elided, unspoken… event circled, generating words, but finally unmentionable, then the silence (the highlighted, framed, silence) itself as the finger of guilt, pointing (silently, to the unnamed, but known).


…absence (now) is become a piece of the Dead, their absence; absence, a piece of their absence.


Killing fields not at the place that bears their name, but (as always) elsewhere. Surrounding the name that names the wound. So sometimes the site is named (…and it is a measure of how far the times fall short of their ideal that we all know some names) and sometimes there is the (near) silence of metonymy.


And then there are (and then there were) the killing fields that killed through absence… the absence of empty fields… (now, at their half-centenary… unmarked) the stolen grain, the scattered graves (unmarked).


…’and then there were’… if forgotten…; ‘there are’ implies memory, a present place-name that recalls, memorialises, brings (back) to mind, allows for the survival of (because not forgotten, so not lost, not disappeared, in this sense the continuation of) the past.


Absent names. Absent place names. Absent names (of the absent (absent from roll-call of the living (…))).


Dates and absences. On that day, on one such day… the quietest day… silence and absence as memorial. (An unofficial silence to match the official silence (one of those official silences), as of the emptiness of the streets on other days, on those … special days. Officially special, marked by a ritual (official). Just as the unofficial is also a kind of marking, an unofficial ritual for the dead (their absence and ours…). Our absence and our silence, marking theirs, a ritual marking, a ritual mimesis, ritual conferring identity, namely: those who remember and those who are to be remembered… (names, unnamed… unspoken… but remembered). As is just and fitting until something marking, some marking, something physical arrives to remind… to mark (those dates and those names, so many and so demanding in their absence). Those marked by absence. Memory marked by absence… By silence (for now)… …a silence altogether more fitting.


A silence that stood out.


‘Altogether more fitting’.





Altogether. An absence we can share; a piece of (their) absence.


Altogether. A kind of communion - with silence as the Host. Communion Host. Bread of the body of the Dead. The host of the disappeared; our communion… our ritual of communion with the Dead.


Absence : for we all may partake of the peace of the Dead.


Together. (…).


Altogether. (Swallowing silence, swallowing in silence).


Partake of a piece of the Dead.





Copyright, Peter Nesteruk, 2011.