My husband Ron dedicated this poem to David Verdegaal, who had a "near-death experience" on 11 April 1986. Ron was fascinated and deeply moved by David’s account and entered into correspondence with him about it.
Ron died in January – what would he tell us now of the state David experienced if only he could!
PERCHED ON ARARAT
When his heart stopped
His brain was killed.
Thirsty for blood is the cortex.
Drained, we are swept to the vortex.
Knowing he was dead,
From above he cast indifferent eyes
On a body happily sloughed,
And at those that were left.
For who in wraps of love
Could crave return?
Would any snake, skin shed,
Be so misled?
He was in a garden,
Silent, petal proud,
Where colours scintillate;
And there beyond, inviting, stood a gate.
He knew the ecstasy of entering;
The agony of leaving;
A drawing back to hell
At the filling of that shell.
Snatched from 'consummatum est'
Comes slow return to flesh;
A back-to-earth again
In stunned and silent brain.
Just as Noah perched on Ararat
Was snatched from watery death,
So as death's tide recedes,
Reluctant strands of thought begin to breed.
Bearing single leaf,
Silent volumes speaks
From its beak.
Promise and rainbow are one.
Symbol clothed meaning when time was begun.
But when rainbow fades, and symbol is gone,
The promise lingers, and love lives on.
Brain is the cup of consciousness.
Our essence is what we imbibe.
And when draught is all drunk up
We can throw away the cup.