The role of death in the circle of life

20120629-153735.jpgAs I sit here
death is all around me
canopying the ground
with a blanket of brown
and yet still buzzing, teeming, throbbing with life.

My womb sheds its lining
another egg that didn’t make it.
and baby chicks in the nest hatch
and then fail to take a first breath

Sometimes things die
because they didn’t get something they needed
And, sometimes they die
because their time has come
Sometimes they die
to make room for something else
and sometimes they die
and nourish and nurture the new growth

It is all part of the same whole
this tapestry that Life is weaving
day in and day out
New bursting forth from old
giving birth
over and over and over again
letting go
over and over and over again
Shedding, bleeding, giving, dying, flowing, knowing
Saying goodbye and hello

This pulse, this rhythm too
this ebb, this flow
is part of the greater whole
each thread
some picked up,
some let go
becomes a part of the tapestry

Nature has a higher loss tolerance rate than we do
I know that from sad, personal experience
and a multitude of observations

What matters
is that the overall pulse keeps beating
that the overall heart keeps singing
and that mother hens continue trying to hatch new chicks.

–Molly, 2012

When I go down to the woods alone, sit on a rock and open my mouth, sometimes poetry comes out. Last month, I was very sad when one of our mother hens hatched two new babies who died immediately. It is depressing to have them come so far and then not make it. For one of my ecology lessons at OSC, I wrote the following:

… baby chicks are one of the things that make me believe in “the Goddess.” Maybe that sounds silly, but when I sit before a nest and see the bright black eyes and soft down of a new baby chick, where before there was just an egg, I feel like I am truly in the presence of divinity. This, this is Goddess, I think whenever I see one. There is just something about the magic of a new chick that brings the miracle of the sustaining force of life to my attention in a profound way. (New babies of all kinds do it for me, but there is something extra special about chicks!) Of course, when several died, I couldn’t help but feel sad about all of that work and that wasted potential and how that little baby had come so far only to die shortly after hatching, but that, to me, is part of Goddess/Nature/Life Force too. I do not believe in a controlling/power-over deity who can give life or take it away at will or at random. I know that things just happen, that the wheel keeps turning, and that while that force that I name Goddess is ever-present and able to be sensed and felt in the world and in daily life, it/she does not have any kind of ultimate “control” over outcomes.

Anyway, I was feeling sort of like, WHY, why did they get this far and then die so quickly? And, when I sat in the woods and opened my mouth, the answer that I’ve transcribed above is what came out…

I decided that now was the perfect time to post it since this morning I went out to the broody coop and in it was a brand new chick—the mother kept sitting and she got a fresh, bright, breathing baby for her efforts. The new baby is the one in the photo above…

Categories: poems, spirituality, thealogy, theapoetics, writing | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “The role of death in the circle of life

  1. Pingback: Theapoetics By Molly Remer « Feminism and Religion

  2. Pingback: Thursday Thealogy: Death & Suffering | Theapoetics

  3. Pingback: Sunday Sabbath: Happy Mother’s Day | Theapoetics

  4. Molly:

    I’d like to use this post at for our monthly meditation in November. Send me an email at humanisticpaganism [at] if your interested.



  5. Pingback: Mid-Month Meditation: “The role of death in the circle of life” by Molly | Humanistic Paganism

  6. DawnS

    Molly, I have read this several times, but today I want to tell you how comforting it is. I have been having a difficult time since losing my mother. I was her caregiver 24/7, for several years before her death. The “wheel keeps turning”, became very real in my life recently. My nephew and his wife are having a little girl, and her estimated arrival date is my mother’s birthday. The Goddess is smiling.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Dawn! (((hugs))) to you as you weave your grief into the fabric of your life. What a beautiful reminder from the Goddess that the wheel does keep turning. ❤

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