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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