They tried them all,
the amulets and potions
of their time and place.
Some worked for a time
but death overcame them
in the end
and proclaimed
their ungodlike mortality.
They were buried like treasure
with their treasures
from this life
readied for the next,
living on only in memories
which faded like funeral flowers.
It was not enough.
So portraits were painted
on the bindings of mummies
or the wooden lids of coffins,
stone effigies were carved
on tombstones,
but only
for the rich and already godlike.
It’s democratised now.
Ceramic portraits carefully
incorporated into gravestones,
likenesses to be viewed
down the centuries,
glimpses of a life passed,
a brush with immortality.


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