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This Hour and What Is Dead

This Hour and What Is Dead

by Li-Young Lee

Mortality Quotes Page 2

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

At this hour, what is dead is helpless, kind
and helpless. While the Lord lives. (29-30)

For the most part, people tend to think of God as immortal, everlasting. But here, our speaker talks about the Lord living. And if you can live, well, then you can die, right? To suggest that the Lord can die expands the scope of death, so that not even God is beyond it. Yikes.

Quote #5

with his mouth of teeth,
a beard stained at feasts, and his breath
of gasoline, airplane, human ash. (24-26)

Aside from being strange and menacing, the really striking thing about this description of God is that it presents Him as the jaws through which death is entered (and life is ended). Whoa. And, at least in this poem, death seems to be the most important act or aspect of God. Uplifting? Not so much.

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