Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Rik George writes


Lost in a search for God and truth,
I wander on wind-worried silt,
stepping over bleaching bones
others left in this barren place.
Barren myself, a spastic puppet,
yearning for an ever-absent god,
I shake my fist at uncaring skies.
This is a storehouse of crumbling skulls,
a place designed for stacking bones
in piles ordered by length of shin,
in heaps by size of scapulas.
I will wander till thirst and dust
strip my bones and I lie down
in this ossuary of broken faith.

The Ursulakammer in the Basilica of St. Ursula in Cologne,where  the world's largest mosaic made from human bones covers all four walls of the room.


  1. An ossuary is a chest, box, building, well, or site used for human skeletal remains, especially where burial space is scarce. Typically, a corpse is buried in a temporary grave, then the skeletal remains are removed later and placed in an ossuary. Some three millennia ago, Zoroastrians used a deep well (astudan, "the place for the bones") for this purpose. During the time of the Second Temple, Jewish burial customs included primary burials in burial caves, followed by secondary burials in ossuaries placed in smaller niches of the same caves. One of the most controversial of these ossuaries is inscribed, "James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." At the time, Jewish sages debated whether the occasion of the gathering of a parent's bones for a secondary burial was a day of sorrow or of rejoicing; they compromised by declaring it a day of fasting in the morning and of feasting in the afternoon.

    function from the earliest times (c. 3,000 years ago) and called it . There are many rituals and regulations in the Zoroastrian faith concerning the astudans.


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