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Death's Final Trial

Death's Final Trial

Death shuts its eyes---
A firing squad
(some fire blanks so the killer's unknown)

but Death still dies…
No one cries…
Death has died alone

Or so you've wished
upon a night
when you've thought of all the wrong he's done
But he hasn't died
Alone you've cried,
waiting for your time to come

You can't place Time on trial
No jury called
And if there were, Time would be acquittedly freed
No guillotine blade to beheadedly fall
Time has never had to bleed

You can't place Cancer
in a noose
It's always loose
or the branch always severed in half
No lethal injection for the heart attack
that you remember your grandfather had

No hydrocyanic gas for defective brakes
Emphysema can't die by cane
Alzheimer's and pneumonia can't have electricity pass
so rapidly through their veins

You can't burn AIDS at a stake
or disembowel
diabetes or suicide
You want your revenge, you want them back
You want to sit down and cry

But you swim out to save
someone who gave
you so many reasons not to swim out
They've bounded his legs
as he drowns and he begs
His life is on the scale of your doubt

Death in a cry
You've pulled him aside,
forgiving so you can move on

Death in a cry
Still everyone's died…
with a lot more death to come

"Everyone who loses somebody wants revenge, on God if they can't find anyone else. But in Africa, in Matobo, the Ku believe that the only way to end grief is to save a life. If someone is murdered, a year of mourning ends with a ritual that we call the Drowning Man Trial. There's an all-night party beside a river. At dawn, the killer is put in a boat. He's taken out on the water and he's dropped. He's bound so that he can't swim. The family of the dead then has to choose. They can let him drown or they can save him. The Ku believe that if the family lets the killer drown, they'll have justice but spend the rest of their lives in mourning. But if they save him, if they admit that life isn't always just... that very act can take away their sorrow… Vengeance is the lazy form of grief."

Monologue by character Silvia Bloom in the movie The Interpreter