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Category Archives: Death

Before

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Before you die

sit here, snug in my eyes

where love circles you

endless and time-capsuled.

Paint me pictures of you

in shades of words

I have never heard.. before.

Write me letters in the wind

when all I hear is the storm,

leave your kisses in the clouds

to fall like feathers with the rain

Please don’t ask me to explain

Before you die

sit here, snug in my eyes

 

 

For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub.

Come join us! Doors open at 3 p.m. EST.

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections of Mary – A Sonnet

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This wild and precious life, you spent lonely

Foraging mushrooms, blackberries…and words

Still you have me pondering not only

On the calm of nature and nature stirred

But on the very essence of each breath

As trees speak my truth in leafy tongues, slurred

The sun meets my skin with every step

And the blue rain beats with my heart, broken

I’ve treasured your thoughts about life and death

Listened to canyons speak the unspoken

I have studied art on the earth’s floor

Weightless as the willows, with mind open

One with the animal spirits, I soar

Your words waxing with the moon evermore

 

 

(For Open Link Night and a late response to Jilly’s Enjambment in Sonnets, part of the Poetry Form challenge at dverse Poets Pub.)

Notes: I chose the Terza Rima form for this piece, consisting of a ABA BCB CDC DED EE rhyme scheme, adding a splash of enjambment. Since the thoughts of each tercet often flow into the next, I decided on leaving no line breaks between them. However, it could be edited into defined tercets, ending with the couplet to present it in traditional terza rima form. I would have to admit that the volta is not emphasized. I simply wanted to pay tribute to the late Mary Oliver, her love and insight of nature and how it has resonated with my own perspectives of life.

 

 

One Photo

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One photo

Frantically collected

From the poised and piled

As tornado warnings proceed

The sirens repeat

 

One photo

Treasured among smiles, scattered

Corners curled and tattered

Taken before digital days

This face, irreplaceable

 

One photo

Made of thirty six Christmases

And one million memories

Warmed in the palm of my hand

Rain quickens, pelting against windows

 

One photo

Could easily take flight tonight

Trailing the tempest

Clutching you closer to my heart

Stay with me in this storm

My brother

 

 

Written for Sarah’s Poetic prompt, “Mindfulness and Poetry” where she has asked us to choose a small object that could fit in the palm of our hand. Explore it, write freely about it and form a poem. In light of recent devastation northeast of here, we were under serious tornado warnings in my area tonight. I scrambled to choose “what is important” and take it to the basement. Easier said than done. Thankfully, what could have been, never was. We are all safe and sound.

 

 

Claustrophobic

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Enclosed I am

Airless, breathless

Must confess to senseless

Gasping, panting,

Mindless ranting

One… two….breathe

I can’t control

The heart rush

Too much

Tightening, fear frenzy

Heightening

I can’t breathe

Just breathe

I’m boxed in, locked in

With no escape

Now I hyperventilate

 

In response to De’s Quadrille prompt at dVerse Poets Pub. Join in with us at 3 p.m. EST. Write a 44 word poem that must include the word “box”.

Fritter

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In wake of birth, we gather

Arms stretched, propitious

Trusting time

Love…. the cosmos

Writing our own scripts

Naming our own stars

In spite of our goods and grit

Our fate is universal

Collective souls we wander

Time-squandering fools

Tossing moments to the wind

 

 

A quadrille for dVerse Poets Pub. Lillian is our host and the prompt is open ALL week!  If you’d like to write a poem of 44 words including the given word “gather”, you are quite welcome to join in.

Image credit: pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

Unanswered

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Where did your light come from?

Did you ever moon gaze under muted skies?

Did nature stir your soul?

I picked a flower for you today and wondered

Watching white floaties sailing into

Dandelion dreams and it seems

We never touched on this

 

 

 

For Open Link Night.  Grace is our host.  It is a pleasure to welcome Sarah Connor to the dVerse team. She was our lovely host for this week’s Poetics , introducing us to the artwork of Fay Collins for inspiration.

Image credit: Fay Collins

 

 

Too Late

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Warning: language

 

I googled you today

you were gone

I was wrong

to think that time was infinite

it was only imminent

this cancer, “fucking cancer”

would escort you out

without waiting one zippin’ minute

for thoughts to collect

memories to reflect

on your beautiful face

 

 

 

Written for the Quadrille prompt that De is hosting this week at d’verse Poets PubThe given word is “zip”. Somehow I managed to incorporate it as I struggle with the loss of a childhood friend.

 

Departure

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pic for Departure

 

I watch the old bones
Of your pianist hands
Bend in new ways
Blue irises fading, not in beauty
Mind sharper than mine

Will you take flight tomorrow
Or am I blessed with more?
My pen is dripping tears
Dare I write these words?

Am I afraid to love so much that
The ground beneath me liquefies
When you go?

Will your skin, soft and weathered
Turn to pixels on a screen
Leaving me floating here
In the silence of white noise?

When you become that
One …star…ablaze
I will not stand in darkness…alone
Waving at you from the gate
I swear
I will be your moon
Gently glowing
By your side

 

 

We are facing our fears today as I tend bar over at dVerse Poets Pub.

Doors open at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Nagame (Long Rain)

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We begin the journey home from windy shores and seagulls galore. Hues of blue and grey ominously mingle on the horizon as patter becomes pelt against the windshield. My sunglasses hide pools of pain on the brink, mimicking the skies.  I am the passenger on these long drives, musing away miles, soaking in cimmerian clouds until I rain. These are moments for writing elegies of those still breathing. These are my dark secrets I dare share of time lost and obsessions with the inevitability of death. Maybe it is the monotonous rhythm of tires on wet pavement that plays to my melancholy heart. Is it any wonder that flowers grow up and rain falls down?

 

rain beats in doldrums

shrouded sun waits for downdrafts

torrential  tears

 

 

Toni leads our Haibun Monday prompt titled “50 Shades of Rain”. She shares with us the many artistic Japanese words for rain. Focusing on one of the words, we are to write a concise paragraph of non-fiction prose followed by a haiku about rain…how it makes us feel, the inconvenience of rain or the beauty of rain.  Haibun Monday is open all week. Feel free to join in!

 

 

 

 

An Elegy

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I.

That morning
When part of me
Died with you
I was forced to fathom words
So free of logic
They made no impact
“Gone where?”
The entity spread slowly
Like black ink
Across my heart, saturating me
Into dark pools of nothingness
Liquefying my legs so
I crawled and pounded
At the floor for another world
To open up because this one
Was no longer real

II.

I have your boots
Engraved leather, western
I know they danced up storms
Tears of laughter raining
With friends that could barely fit
Into the funeral home
I have your smile
Tucked into mine
I use it for all that
You forgot to smile at
And all that you did

III.

I recycle your dreams
Tarnished and tattered
They still matter
To me
I see you in the clouds
Emblazoned in
Fiery silhouettes
Did you know that
Seagulls float by
With sun speckles of
You on their wings?

cloud for elegy

In memory of my brother

~

An elegy is “a poem written to lament the loss of someone or something special to you”, as Gayle Walters Rose explains this week at dVerse: Meeting the Bar. Three stages of grief are included – sorrow, admiration and acceptance.

A Daughter’s Farewell

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I set sail without you

Into seas of rebellion

Waving white flags

At pilfering pirates

On quests for

Golden hearts

There was no good-bye

It was assumed that

You were you and

I was I

 

The sea swelled and took you

And I cursed not the wind

But your timing as I was

Left pining for words

Tossed and turned

Lost and churned

Into the brine

There was no good-bye

It was assumed that

You were you and

I was I

 
Sharing this with Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub, in response to Abhra’s poetic prompt, “Unintended Farewells”

My Brother

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Driving east from our hometown

I remember a sunset

Blazing behind me

Reds I’d never known

Tangerines twisted

In tones of blue silk

Ivory smiles, infectious

Masquerading as cirrus clouds

I think it was you, my brother

I think it was you

              ~

Miles were meaningless

Moments embedded in golden hues

Purple streams extended

Like arms that had my back

I never lost sight of your afterglow

Love as large as the sun

Fades not in distance

Or in hearts

I think it was you, my brother

I think it was you

Grace encouraged us to write about brothers/brotherhood for dVerse poetics.  I lost my only brother suddenly when he was 36.  This was written as I recalled the most amazing sunset, traveling home one day from the small town I grew up in. It just happened to be his birthday.


50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years…#26

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“Being with someone as they pass is as phenomenal as witnessing a birth. It is a privilege to be present.”

26 post

It started out as an ordinary day in November.

I was 22, enjoying my first “real” job since graduating from college. However, this day turned out to be life changing. Today I would lose my dad.

As I arrived at work, I was immediately told that I needed to call my aunt right away. It was about an hour’s drive to get to the hospital in my hometown. This was a blur, emotionally and literally as I urged my boyfriend to drive faster.

ICU was like some kind of dreamworld, some place that shouldn’t be…because the reality was too hard to accept. I remember white…sheets, walls, floors, nurse’s uniforms, the grey tone of my father’s face almost blending in. There were heart monitors, tubes, oxygen masks…things I had never seen. My 19 year old brother was standing beside the bed, trying hard to control his tears. I remember holding him up as his knees started to buckle. My 16 year old sister had an 8 hour trip by train. She would not make it in time. I remember watching the jagged waves on the heart monitor…every beep was another second of denial. As long as his heart was beating, this nightmare had not begun.

I watched him struggle to breathe. I saw the fear in his eyes. I felt the tiniest possibility of hope vanish when a nurse politely explained to us exactly how a person dies when there is no heart muscle left to keep them alive. She told us how the oxygen mask would make him “comfortable” in the end.

A few minutes before my father died, he suddenly attempted to rise to a sitting position. There was no logic to this, given the amount of strength he had left. It was frightening, but amazing at the same time. Looking straight ahead with eyes wide open, he pointed at something. He was unable to speak, but he was trying to communicate. He saw something. He knew something. He was entering a new realm, a journey that we were no longer a part of.

As devastating as this was, I felt so fortunate that I was there. I cannot imagine how disappointing it would be to take your last breaths on this earth without someone you love by your side. Death is not just about loss. Beyond the heartache, there is something more to this moment.

We celebrate the beginning of life.

We need to honor the end of it.

~

For the Love of Dogs and Blogs

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Three years ago today, I published my first post on Word Press. This journey of writing, sharing photographs, reading, learning and connecting with others has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Thank you to all of you who take the time to read, comment and interact.

Moon gazing was written as I was grieving the loss of our dog. Since then, it has been difficult to look at photos of “Barley”. I avoid things that hurt. I avoid things I cannot fix.

Barley wasn’t just a pet. He was my friend.  So on this blogging anniversary, I thought it would be nice to pay tribute to my first inspiration to write. One miniature wire haired wiener dog that blessed my life and made me laugh every single day for seventeen years. It is time to look into his ragamuffin face again and say hello.

Hello, my long lost little buddy. I will always miss you and love you.

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At fourteen, he still had a spring in his step.

 

weiner 6909

Purebred…but he preferred the Rastafarian look.

 

February 2011 275

The sunlight was too bright for his weary eyes, hence the little wool cap. Still cute as a button in his golden years.

 

 

 

The Poppy

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poppy

 

Today in Canada, we remember those who risked their lives and lost their lives at war. A few weeks before “Remembrance Day”, coinciding with the U.S. “Veterans Day” , we donate spare change (or hopefully more) to purchase a bright red, felt- like poppy. These are worn to signify that we have not forgotten the sacrifices of those who have served in the military.

The custom of wearing poppies evolved from the  poem, “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. The poem which was published after his death, was recited every year in classrooms across Canada as we approached Nov.11th. Kindergarten crafts were all about poppies.

Who was John McCrae?

He was a Canadian poet. He was also a soldier during WW I.

Apparently, John McCrae was moved by the sight of a million poppies growing on the battlefields and cemeteries of Ypres, Belgium during the First World War. His words were penned as he sat in the back of an ambulance just north of Ypres, where he had recently buried his friend, Lieutenant Alex Helmer.

I have come to realize that some Americans are not familiar with this famous war poem or the symbolism of the poppy. Ironically, the idea of adorning poppies on our lapels originated from an American woman. Inspired by John McCrae’s poem, Moina Michael wore a silk poppy to symbolize remembrance of those who served in WW I.  She advocated the idea for two years in hopes of the poppy becoming a national commemorative symbol. Her efforts were not in vain and the poppy is worn proudly in many countries around the world.

The last surviving WW I veteran died in 2012. Her name was Florence Green from the U.K.

Many of our WW II veterans are still with us.

Today and always, let us honour their strength, survival and sacrifices.

 

 

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

by John McCrae, May 1915

 

 

 

Related Articles:  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCrae

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/history/the-history-of-the-remembrance-poppy-9852348.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_last_surviving_World_War_I_veterans_by_country

 

Dead Man Smoking

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You think you know me

But you don’t know yourself

I am what you will be

When you are me

I am your death wish come true

Your toxic utopia

Reality rotting while

Comforting words echo

Between the pews

I am the joke on you

Smoke on you blues

That you cannot sing

Without a voice

I am the end

To your choice

~

Today at dVerse, Grace shared the unique poetry of Marvin Bell and then challenged us to write from the perspective of the dead man (or woman)”.

Beautiful Soul

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I watched the leaders of my country
Dodge bullets today
Literally, dodge bullets
That was the news
And that’s all it is
Simple violence
Point and shoot
Any coward can do it
But the story is not the news
The story is about a boy
A son, who became a man
A soldier
Corporal Nathan Cirillo
A father, an animal lover
A friend to many
Only 24 years old
The story is about
Hearts ripping, tears flowing
Making sense of inhumanity
Sorrow deeper
Than can be imagined
No, I did not know him
It doesn’t matter
I am a mother
And he was like no other
How do I know?
Just look in his eyes
That is the gift
We have been given
Beautiful soul
One heart in different bodies
One life in different times
One love in different worlds
We are different
Thank God
We are all different

 

 

In response to poetics at dVerse…but mostly in response to my aching heart.

 http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/10/22/soldier-shot-outside-of-parliament-at-national-war-memorial-active-shooter-believed-to-be-on-the-loose/

Cardio

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bleeding hearts

 

My heart still beats
Though stitched and sewn with
Threads of hope, frayed
Robotically repaired
In rhythmic mode
Patched up places
Where entry wounds gaping
Took hold of every breath

My heart still beats
Tick tock, tock ticking
Pulse belongs to them
Lovingly tended
Far from mended
But they are the blood
The oxygen saving
My life, my soul, my love

~dedicated to my father and my brother~

 

Today at dVerse Poet’s Pub, Marina Sofia asked us to “consider what does it take to shatter your world and how do you make it whole again”.

http://dversepoets.com/

 

 

 

Embers

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SAMSUNG

You are only gone

If I forget you

That could never happen

My brother, my friend

For memories, like oxygen

Breathe life again

Inhaling your laughter

Exhaling joy

You are only gone

If I let you go

But I don’t have to

Because flashbacks kindle the fire

Igniting hope

Warming my heart

And if my heart is warm

Then you are too.

~

In memory of my brother

who can still make me smile today.

~Oct. 28, 2000~

Full Colour

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Before I die

I want to show all my colours

No secrets concealed

Like a leaf in the sun, aglow

An extension of life

Weightless of all regrets

Reflecting hues and memories

Shades of pain and joy

Tints and tones of all I am

Ready to float freely

For one last dance

With the wind

The End

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Every moment we are still together

Mother and daughter, so sacred

I have the unfortunate knowledge

It will not last

Because I have been there

Facing the impossible

Denying the unthinkable

 I have been there

When the bottom falls out

Making you wonder why

You invested your soul, your heart, your mind

If only for a short time

Why do we love so much

Knowing it will cause so much pain?

Why are we given these precious moments

Leaving us vulnerable and needing more?

I have been there

Devastated by the loss

Frozen in my tracks

Wondering where my next breath will come from

Kicking at pieces of my heart

Laying on the floor

Because life was over as I knew it

So today I look at you,  aging with grace

I hang on to your every word,

Every beloved gesture

Until the end.

Tree Killers

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DSCF4750DSCF4746DSCF4738DSCF4749How dare they

You were here first

Planted firmly, deep in soil

Casting shadows in the grass

Making rings for each year passed

A hefty price they paid

To bring you in dead

…..or dead

Roped and tied as if you’d run

You’ve stood your ground, oh rooted one

 Branches reach toward the sun

One last time

As if begging for mercy

Now I watch your severed limbs

 Turn into tiny chips

For pretentious gardens

And meaningless mulch

You may not be missed by those

Who mindlessly maim you

But I will miss you

My friend from over the fence

I will miss your undeniable presence

Your glorious stature

They can only kill you

But I will miss you

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50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years…..#10

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#10. “In an instant, your world can be turned upside down. The people you take for granted can disappear in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow is only a plan. This moment is all you have.”

It was October of 2000. It was a Saturday morning when the phone rang, waking me up from a deep slumber. As one who usually dreaded the worst, I assumed this 7 a.m phone call meant something was wrong. Perhaps my grandmother was ill but in the back of my mind, I thought “calm down, it’s probably just a wrong number”. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to hear.  It would have been the furthest idea from my mind. It was unthinkable.

When my crying mother said my brother was “gone”, I asked where he went. He was single. He could go wherever he wanted. He had no significant ties. I thought…. where in the world could he have gone that would upset my mom so much? What was she talking about?

Confused and half asleep I asked her, “Where did he go?”

“He’s dead”, she muttered  with whatever strength she could dig up from……somewhere. My mother had waited hours to call me. She just couldn’t pick up the phone.

He was 36 years old. He was my baby brother by three years.

He was my only brother.

I fell to the floor. I remember so clearly the sound that came out of my mouth. I remember pacing back and forth and screaming “no” over and over. I am sure at that moment, I was insane. I remember crawling up the stairs, waking up my ex husband. I was not me, but just an empty, robotic being, mumbling, sobbing, shaking, running around the room……lost in denial.

I cannot understand to this day how I drove an hour and a half by myself to get there. My two sons were still asleep (or were they?) and their dad would stay there with them. I didn’t want them to know anything about their uncle yet…because it couldn’t be true anyways. That was the plan I managed to somehow articulate before running out the door to my car. I was going to see him because that was the only way I could prove that this wasn’t happening.

The next time I saw my brother, it was Halloween night and he was in a casket.

DEATH is sneaky. Don’t ever trust it. It hides away mysteriously and then leaps out of nowhere to blindside you into oblivion.
LIFE is precious. Don’t ever take it for granted. It is amazing, breathing and beautiful and it never hides. Take everything it has to offer.

Don’t wait until the phone rings or there is a knock on the door. Live your life to the fullest.
Every minute unfolding in front of you is amazing.

~ In memory of my brother, his laughter, his incredible smile , his song , his silly dance and most of all, his loving heart.~