Category Archives: Death

The Wings of Hummingbirds

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The Wings of Hummingbirds

They break my heart,
these delicate wings of hummingbird
strewn on my porch
with a tiny head displaying one beak,
one eye.

Stripped of adornment,

one slight hummingbird
would hardly make a meal for a cat—
especially one recently fed at my kitchen door. 

Where was I when this travesty

was committed,
carried out by  a cat
true to its nature
and therefore bearing no sin?

I was out back,
 filling the hummingbird feeder left by guests,
though I prefer the natural sight
of hummingbirds feeding at the aloe blossoms
or thunbergia or frangipani.
 
 In the fenced backyard,
the dogs create a territory safe from cats,
but what am I to do about the obelisco plant I love so much in front—
 the one spied every day with a new bloom
as I walk past it to my car? 
What’s to be done for the royal poinciana,
seventeen years old,
spreading its shelter over street and wall and front garden alike?
A dangerous draw in a yard frequented by cats.
What’s to be done?
Defrock the area they roam in to make it hummingbird-free?

That double-pronged nature of cats—
their beauty and their savagery––
displayed so vividly in man himself of late––
 can it be anything but plan?
And to what purpose?
We love the ways of nature but turn our back on half of them,
hoping they will not be demonstrated in our lives.
Until that one last fatal claw of fate descends upon us
and we fall into that scheme, resisting,
but our efforts futile.

Why are endings necessary?
Why must our hearts be broken
 time and again
before they themselves are the breaking thing
and we pass into nature,
undivided, part of a whole both savage and tragic in its beauty. 
Here is the hummingbird whole.
 The cat whole.
Here are we, whole, observing them.
That has to be enough. 
The now. This look.
This touch. This satiation for the moment.
The hummingbird before the slaughter,
the bone before the break.

The Wall: NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29

The prompt today is to write a poem inspired by a Sylvia Plath poem.  Below the photo is the poem I wrote. The Plath poem I chose that inspired it is given below my poem.

The Wall

I put my hand against the raw stone of the wall
and I can feel it siphoning molecules.
There is a tingling sensation
as they flow out of me.

I try to send some extrasensory
particles along with them
to communicate to me
where they go
and what they encounter there,
but I know that it is futile.

I cannot follow
where these lost parts of me go––
these thoughts, wishes,
aspirations
that I surrender to the wall.

It is not by choice, you know,
that I sit here facing what 
has  been leached out of my life.

I go on living what life I can,
knowing that in time
all of me will finally
flow into the wall.

 I’ve lost so much ambition to it—
and hope and curiosity.

So much of what has kept me engaged in life
has already  gone into that gray world
where I cannot yet follow.

Now I sit here, facing it,
acknowledging my failure
as well as the wall’s exclusivity.
Only my shadow
cast against it
reminds me that
somewhere behind me
there is a sun.

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For NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29.

 

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                              Apprehensions

                                              — by Sylvia Plath

There is this white wall, above which the sky creates itself —
Infinite, green, utterly untouchable.
Angels swim in it, and the stars, in indifference also.
They are my medium.
The sun dissolves on this wall, bleeding its lights.

A grey wall now, clawed and bloody.
Is there no way out of the mind?
Steps at my back spiral into a well.
There are no trees or birds in this world,
There is only sourness.

This red wall winces continually:
A red fist, opening and closing,
Two grey, papery bags —
This is what i am made of, this, and a terror
Of being wheeled off under crosses and rain of pieties.

On a black wall, unidentifiable birds
Swivel their heads and cry.
There is no talk of immorality among these!
Cold blanks approach us:
They move in a hurry.

Forced March

Forced March

As certain as its final outcome may be, death is maddeningly vague.  How will it happen and when? I do not like this uncertainty. I ponder its unfairness, fear its possibilities. Would it be better to know for sure and therefore to have a choice in whether we accept life’s choice for us or take our ending as firmly in our own hands as we have taken the other decisions in our life? 

Death is the only thing in our lives that is simply an absence of something else.  A meal is more than an absence of hunger.  It is sensation, texture, a combination of temperatures and tastes. Warmth is more than a cessation of cold.  It has security and depth, succor and support. Warmth cuddles us. It is round and deep and soft.  Would that we knew that death, too, was more than a deprivation. 

Certainly, religion has promises of streets of gold, a reunion with departed loved ones, a coming back to the whole, but what guarantees of the truth of religion have we? I’ve seen friends and relatives return to the faith of their younger years as they grow older, needing some comfort to cushion their inevitable slippery slide progress toward death, perhaps. But I cannot talk myself into a fairytale ending. The poet in me looks for truth over the comfort and distraction of fantasy, and it prods me to create my end as proactively as I’ve arranged those aspects of my life that have led me up to it.

In this case, creativity, however, seems to fail me.  I feel helpless in this inescapable forced march toward my end. Possibilities for the first time in my life seem limited. Is it the fatigue of a failing body that keeps me from finding interesting possibilities from which to choose?  Or is it the knowledge that whatever my choices, the ending will, inevitably, be the same? Rude death, to be at once so inevitable and yet so vague.

I’ve always hated vague endings in literature or films.  Torture for me is a book with the final pages missing. Ironic, then, that I cannot know my own ending.  Cannot flip ahead to the last page to know what I am heading toward. Perhaps this is the secret of those who choose to end their own lives.  Perhaps it is just their successful attempt to not only know their own ending but to write it as well.

 

 

The prompt today is vague.

Above

jdb photos, 2018.  To enlarge all photos, click on any one.


Above

By putting so much beauty so far beyond our reach,
what truths of the universe might nature try to teach?
One story told by earth and sea, here within our clutch,
another told by what’s above, that only eyes can touch.

 

The prompt today is above.

Released


Released

All night long I follow scripts written by some hand
perhaps belonging to a self that consciousness has banned.
Fresh from dreams, I feel released from tasks committed to
as I remember other jobs that I’m obliged to do.
Who knows if dreams are showing us those things we could have done—
those things we have forgotten with the dawning of the sun.
If only I remembered that world that fades away,
perhaps I’d face a very different sort of day.
Instead, I slip into the role my life has led me to,
like forcing naked feet into a more confining shoe.

 I wonder if these dreams were brought to light if they’d show more
of potential lives where I live closer to my core.
Perhaps these stories I concoct, labelling them as lore,
are simply other lives I live on a lower floor.
When I descend into my dreams, maybe I go to ponder
all those other me’s whose gifts I have chosen to squander.
Could it be in death that I’m released to find a goal
in the bargain basement of the building of my soul—
to find another path where I may once more start a quest
towards a self just one step closer to my very best?

 


The prompt today is release. Once again, I’ve edited and reblogged a poem written three and a half years ago. A fine way to find time to edit and since I never remember these poems, perhaps if you’ve followed my blog for this long, you’ve forgotten them, too.

Our Mother, Cloaked in Silence (Daily Post and dVerse Poets Rhyme Royal)

Our Mother, Cloaked in Silence

Although she was our portal to the world,
with little pageantry we laid her down.
No trumpets blared, the flags full mast unfurled,
for it was small, the realm of her renown.

And yet the limbs were bare, the whole world brown
as though the trees she planted all were lief
to shed their full green finery in their grief.

The prompt today was cloaked.  Also for the dVerse poets prompt, Rhyme Royal.The rhyme royal stanza consists of seven lines, (usually) in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is  a-b-a-b, b-c-c. It was the standard narrative meter in the late Middle Ages.