Category Archives: Death

Word Mill

DSC08696

Mount Señor Garcia and Lake Chapala from my gazebo

Word Mill

The world I see outside my sill—
the clouds that cover lake and hill,
treetops and vines that seek to fill
every space–both rock and rill,
completing  crevasses until
they’ve rendered empty spaces nil.
These things now serve to fuel my quill.
They are my unguent, band-aid, pill.
They prick my fancy, charge my will.
They level out that long uphill
journey to that final kill
when wan and empty, sore and ill,
I will finally pay life’s bill.

 

The prompt today is quill.

Afloat

Afloat

A hand releases mooring lines and I go floating free.
Unmoored and unamóred, I float upon the sea.
Each time I find a tether, it lets loose of me,
for nature seems to be at odds with propinquity.

Nothing lasts forever or even long enough.
Each time the tattered sleeve of time shakes me off its cuff,
I am again amazed that the rules won’t change for me.
Each time I am newly surprised by mortality.

So many friends and lovers, so many family members
who once were bonfires in my life, flicker down to embers
then fade to ashes in a jar sitting on a shelf.
and once again my tether becomes only my self.

It is a cruel truth of life, this ephemerality
that severs every hawser as ones we love go free.
No matter what allegiance, what solidarity
is promised, still the vow that lasts is mutability.

 

The prompt today is “unmoored.”

The Wheel: NaPoWriMo Repetition Poem, WP Daily Prompt

jdbphoto

The (Wh)eel

We sail through life on an even keel,
solving every small ordeal
until one day, it turns surreal
as death slides in like a slippery eel,
our place in nature to firmly seal,
our invulnerability to steal.

It’s true these thoughts were never real,
but still, we feel what we must feel.
In youth, our lives are stainless steel,
Our pains are solved, our wounds all heal.
Then death slips in like a slippery eel—
gives no second chances. Does not deal.

A carnival barker with his spiel,
death lures us with unfettered zeal,
to spin us on the ferris wheel—
all our accomplishments to peel
and all our woe and all our weal
to cast from us, reel after reel.

On a ride that nothing can repeal,
it’s our turn to be nature’s meal.
The surreal now becomes the real,
and we join the universe’s wheel.
The organs keen, the bells all peal
as death slides in like a slippery eel.

 

jdbphoto

The WP Prompt today is “heal,” and the NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem that depends on repetition.

NaPoWriMo2017, Day 3: Reliquary

daily life color241
Reliquary

On Sunday morning under orange bougainvillea,
Your picture spills from an old album.
You were on a verandah under purple bougainvillea,
drinking the hot noon from your coffee cup
as I drank passion fruit and watched Lake Tana birth the Nile.

Later, kneeling by the river, I made my hand into a cup,

but you called out that slow death swam the blood
of those who touched the river,
while behind you on harsh branches,
black birds barked stark music.

Now, on Sunday morning under orange bougainvillea,
half a world and half a life away,
 I restore you to your proper place, remembering how,
when they laid you down to dream beneath the purple bougainvillea,
it was passionfruit’s sweet poison that flavored my life.

 

Please also see this elegy: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2016/10/11/look-up-poem-for-a-good-good-girl/

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to write an elegy.

Loving Lee

flying-heart
Loving Lee

She was not the easiest one
to be around, but she was fun.
Her wit was sharp, also her tongue.
And yet, I counted her among
those dearest if not nearest to me.
It was she who chose to woo me
with books she thought me ready for
filled with strange and heady lore
of living by my intuition
through which I came to my fruition.
My whole life was changing then,
Buscaglia and Jung and zen.
I’d moved west and changed my thinking,
took up pot and gave up drinking,
decided that my thoughts on men
needed revising. Only then
did life straighten out for me—
and part of it was meeting Lee.
She read my poems, studied my art.
I dodged her tongue and won her heart.
As she won mine; yet other friends
rejected her sincere amends,
’til I was one of two or three
who chose to let our friendship be.
Yes. It was, I must confess,
because I saw her less and less.
When I moved off to Mexico,
our intercourse was rare and slow.
The one last trip I took her on,
quickly, truth began to dawn.
Her memory span had grown so thin
that barely did a thought begin
before it came around again
to the place where we’d just been.
Sometimes our world leaves bit by bit
until we are well rid of it
Not so the friends who leave us slow.
We still aren’t ready to let them go.
My world was better for loving Lee,
but with these lines, I set her free.

The WordPress prompt today was lovingly. I chose a slightly different approach to the word.

Wordless

Wordless

Your words so vivid
that they roped me, 
binding me securely
as they drew me in.

The rub of your words 
and their scent and flavor.
Their nubbiness and length
and width and breadth.

The hands of your words
uprooting me
and planting something
solid in my place.

How could I have known
one day they’d vanish
as though never there.
Smoke signals

from a distant hill
now risen from my sight
and almost rubbed out
from my memory.

 

IMG_1482

 

The prompt word today was “smoke“.

Playthings

I have always found the below poem comforting and so, after quoting a line of it to Marilyn Armstrong just now, decided to share it with you all, as well. That said, I promise.  No more posts about death. For awhile

                       img_9427

                  Nature

                  by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As a fond mother, when the day is o’er,
Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
Nor wholly reassured and comforted
By promises of others in their stead,
Which though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us, and takes away
Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
Being too full of sleep to understand
How far the unknown transcends the what we know.