a wake

Posted on October 1, 2010 by Haymaker

When: October 22 – 25, 2010
Where: Capitol Hill Townhouse: 1315 G Street SE, Washington, DC

a wake

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“Will you never have done revolving it all?” – Footfalls, Samuel Beckett

Your presence is requested at a wake. In lieu of flowers, you bring your favorite dish to share. You are met with a mournful and joyous Irish wake where the guest of honor is the deceased. She joins you for the service, takes communion with you, and paces a bare room in search of lost opportunities. As she slips away into the afterlife, you are greeted with the dinner that you and your fellow guests have provided. You eat, drink, and enjoy the company of this intimate community of guests. And when you leave, you get a gift.

Texts

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Definitions

(a list of terms that may help you)

Drawsheet – A narrow sheet used chiefly in hospitals and stretched across the bed lengthwise often over a rubber sheet underneath the patient’s trunk.

Semblance – a mere show without reality; A likeness or resemblance.

Vespers – The sixth of the seven canonical hours; A service of worship in the evening.

Evensong – the Anglican liturgy of Evening Prayer, especially so called when it is sung.

Candelabrum – A large, branched candlestick.

Homily – A sermon, especially one intended to edify a congregation on a practical matter and not intended to be a theological discourse.

Repast – A gathering after a funeral typically involving a meal.

To see a World in a grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

please turn off your cell phones or any
other electronic devices the performance
has already started.

you are made of seconds, minutes, hours,
days, years – moments – all of which are
important.

A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage

no one has died…

your condolences are appreciated.

 

Eulogy

Chime

Eulogy

Friends, it is here, the formal beginning of the long bereavement where we begin to possess a strange new acuity. Thank you for coming.

We are things we may not want to be. Thieves. Lechers. Cowards. But, here, tonight… leave it. Travel until the sun has set and you have grown weary and must find a place to rest. Take shelter in the shadow of a rock, and after a time fall asleep resting your head on a random stone. And in sleep, dream. And in dreaming see a vision: a ladder set up on the earth, and reaching to Heaven and the angels of God ascending and descending on it! And the Lord will stand beside you and say, “I am the God of your fathers; the land on which you lie I will give to you. I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.” And you would then wake and be afraid, and say, “God is in this place? I did not know it.”

Chime

Now there is one thing I can tell you: you will enjoy certain pleasures you would not fathom until now.

The instant you gasped and the man caught your eye; daydreaming about a life you could have with a stranger; the escalator stopping– the shudder step, momentary loss of balance, everyone’s recovery, and then the shared realization of being surrounded by each other; finding a dried flower in a book; a song that’s been running through your head: was that stranger whistling it? Were you? Without knowing?; a streetlamp going on over your head; eating out at a restaurant alone; running – really running – to catch a bus, and the bus driver laughing when you board; getting to push the buttons; the shrieking and chattering of a hidden flock of birds; falling asleep to the relentless white noise from ocean waves; cerulean: your favorite crayon color, the color of the beginning of night; a butterfly careening into your face; sparrows bathing in a dirt patch; itchy grass; the hot wind of summer; a surprise visit; a kiss goodbye; church bells; FIREWORKS

Chime.

Now you will often think of days past. And it will exhaust you to soak in all the tatters that now have vanished. Never to be had again. Your belly will be full and heavy with this depression. Just when you are used to this horrible thing that it will forever be cast into the past, then you will gently feel it revive, returning to take its place, its entire place, beside you. At the present time, this is not yet possible. Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power…that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less now, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more.

Chime

yes.

We are gathered to pay respect to what has happened; the obvious occurrences around you.

yes.

The lights in the metro seem so much brighter today.

yes.

need more interactions.

yes.

the tidbits.

yes.

the random stone.

yes.

at first, inconsequential, and later – at nightfall perhaps – this collection, this mess becomes the scaffold of the whole.

yes.

it all, if you will.

yes.

Chime

Multimedia

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Hear the hymn sung during a wake

Download the prayer card [PDF]