Ken Schedler


Nature und Gnade:
Evangelische Verlage, Stuttgart, Germany, 1970.
An examination of the theology of Paul Tillich.

Past Forgotten
larger view

Past Forgotten, Future Foretold

When first I saw this sculpture
I was stirred with emotion unknown
Whence such feeling I was unsure
Had no notion of what had been sown

At the bottom the grinning skeleton
Holding a skull not his own
Did much to capture my attention
And thus set the overall tone

No doubt it spoke of human mortality
With a start this took away my breath
Opening the door on another reality
Where the dead was laughing at death

Dancing on flames above the skeletal head
A woman dramatically pointed
Like a dance of the grateful dead
I thought or a messenger somehow anointed

To call our attention back to the past
Awakening thoughts long forgotten
And to say truths important forever will last
Despite the many false paths we have sought in

The angelic consort there by here side
Seems now to confirm the fact
That she is heraldic, has a message to confide
Basic truth about life we have lacked

The mustachioed head under her right hand
In the shape of a tomato goateed
Presents a mystery hard to understand
Could he be Everyman who needs to be freed?

There's a crease to the right upon his forehead
His lips as in thought they are pursed
His eyes deeply open possibly in dread
Of a soul's message not yet rehearsed

Reality is crashing, about him it's draping
He, too, being right above the flames
Awareness is coming, there is no escaping
From the mystery of life that transcends names
Everyone who takes time to look at this piece
Already knows where he's ultimately going
Impermanence is universal so bodily release
Underlies the heart of what it is showing

The key is the figure that points to awakening
To opening our cloaked eyes to see
To shake our foundations and lead to a quickening
Showing us our life as it actually can be

Life and death here are joined in dark mirth
Human existence demands that they be
By accepting our death our life gains its worth
And we're given new eyes that can see

The message here told therefore is terse
And it's this lesson we are asked to learn
As was said long ago in a biblical verse
From dust thou art, to dust thou shalt returned

© Ken Schedler
All rights reserved

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