Saturday 16 January 2010

Continuation Day

How does a part of the world leave the world?
How can wetness leave water?
- Rumi

The passing on of family and close friends is an acute loss none but ourselves can experience. The passing on of strangers, at all moments, in welcome and unwelcome places, requires a more ephemeral and amorphous understanding. Some of us are more aware of death than others, some of us find it easier to pray. Buddha taught that the death of the human body is but a manifestation and that on the day a person dies, we wish them Happy Continuation Day, for surely they will manifest elsewhere, if only in our hearts. I wrote this poem many years ago in memory of David, a dear family friend who passed away, and today, on hearing the news of another passing, I decided to post it.

A memory tugged at me
weeding in the garden
I looked up
to hear your laugh
reach the furthest branches

reminding me
though the light may dim
the birds sing on

Painting by Kahlil Gibran


  1. Shaista, that is such a beautiful, comforting poem. I had never heard this about continuation day. It is such a special thought that a person manifests elsewhere and, of course, those we love do live in our hearts. Thank you for posting your poem again or I would never have seen these wonderful words.

  2. How I love you Shaista. Thank you dear one.


  3. sorry for your loss. the rumi quote is beautiful. and yes all continues somehow, somewhat. true wisdom (prajna) to be able to see that. thank you. kenza

  4. This is one of my favorite of your poems. Just beautiful and the end, gives me wonderful chills.

  5. Wonderful written
    my compliments (@^.^@)

  6. What an amazing post Shaista. Truly. I have read it more than once. Much wisdom to glean here.

  7. In light of the Haiti news we've been watching during our time out of town, this is particularly poignant. The passing of those we don't know always requires a new level of thought and empathy, and always connects us more deeply to our own mortality. I have always been one who believes that one's own individual passing is only a narrow passage into something much greater and more vast than anything we know in this mortal coil. I still hope that that is true. In fact, I am unable to believe otherwise.

    Your words, Shaista, are always so delicate and so profound. I've missed you during our brief hiatus.

  8. If I may, I would point to the Wanderer's Daughter's comment and say "Ditto". She says it better than I can.

    Much love and comforting arms for you

  9. That poem touched a chord with me. When I was a teenager, I had a friend who always made me think of robins. Whenever I heard robins singing, I thought of my friend.

    A few years ago my friend died. That day, a lone robin sat outside my window and sang for about an hour.

    Your poem reminded me of that. People continue on in other ways -- many other ways.

  10. I really like this poem and your approach to death, it rings very true in my world view. I see it as a parting, a change but not the end and there can be a peace to it.

  11. :) Beautiful poem ...

    Om Mani Padme Hum ... :)

  12. Dear Shaista, am sorry to hear the loss of your dear friend.Your poem is truly beautiful and it touches my heart.

  13. That is very beautiful and touching Shaista

    Kitty x

  14. From God we come, to God we shall return.

    Beautiful and comforting poem Shaista. Thank you.

  15. Sadly
    death of the body is inevitable
    It is death of one's soul
    that frightens me.
    For so many are gone
    have lost their way
    before their body has given up.

  16. I still love this so much and I always will. I have printed it out as it sings to me.

    How are you sweet Shaista?

    Love Renee xoxo