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("Buddha painted on a rock wall in Tibet" by Unknown Artist - photography by onwardtibet.org)




« Between Worlds » is a suite in five movements that started as a song entitled « Requiem » which was written in response to the deaths of my father and maternal grandmother, both due to cancer, at the beginning of the 1990s. The original draft eventually became what now constitutes « Departure, » the introductory section of the whole composition.


A few years later, after discovering Buddhism, I acquired an edition of « The Tibetan Book of the Dead » (« Bardo Thodol » in Tibetan) which I read with great interest, and wholeheartedly recommend. At that point, I had already toyed with the idea of extending the song to include a hint at after-death, and the book gave both the inspiration and substance needed to turn the piece into a suite intended to present the successive stages of the death process as described in Tibetan culture.


The composition begins with an illustration of physical decay, presented as a plea for euthanasia coming from someone in the throes of a degenerative illness, which is followed by dissolution and passage into the successive « between worlds, » or intermediate states (« bardos » in Tibetan), finally leading to rebirth.


The lyrics to « Departure » follow below. Although they work in their current form, I'm not totally convinced that telling this part of the story from the vantage point of the dying is the wisest way to proceed, so the words might go through a complete overhaul before they receive the « Definitive » stamp and get recorded.


Talk to me, tell me it's you
Clear sight has gone astray
All is dark outside and in
I’m sure glad you made it today

No word still of even a slight chance
It gets harder every day
I feel it won't be long before
It takes my mind away

Is there a point in trying to find
Reasons to keep going ?
I’ve seen a lot through this lifetime of mine
No fear of death keeps me waiting

What’s left for me but this life of dependence
And fading memories of freedom ?
I do accept that my time here is up
I want to know where we all go

Don't be sad my friend
This life is all behind me
Stay on for a while
Listen to my plea

Don’t be mad my friend
There’s not much that we can do
I’m reaching the end
Just help me through

I trust you can understand what I'm going through
This body, numb, is a jail
I know it’s no easy task that I ask of you
Promise me that you won’t fail

Don't be sad my friend
This life is all behind me
Take me to the end
With dignity

Please be strong my friend
Give me the shot that’ll kill me
Save me all this pain
Do it for me

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