Category Archives: poems about death

Foreshadowing

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Foreshadowing

Why does the loveliest flower have the sharpest thorn
so you had to pay the tariff of young flesh pierced and torn
by the most splendid ornament that you had ever worn
as he clasped you to the music of the saxophone and horn?
It’s been true each day you’ve lived, was true when you were born,
and your father brought fresh roses—your bedside to adorn.
And it will go on being true on that future morn
when roses will be carried by those saddened and forlorn
as they place your ashes where you’ve asked that they be borne:
back to that same rose bush that so long ago was shorn
of the roses that you carried when your wedding vows were sworn.

 

 

The prompt today is thorny.

The Finite. What We Can’t Fight.

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Universal Biography

In the end, all the same.
Although remembering your name,
eventually no one knows
the you that lived beneath your clothes.

They may see your charming smile,
your tender looks or cunning guile,
but they won’t have the faintest clue
of the authentic, inner you.

Perhaps we start out all the same;
so who’s the one that we should blame
when some turn into Phyllis Dillers
and others into serial killers?

Ghandi, Hitler, Bundy, and
the rest of us, by nature’s hand
instilled with sin or piety
in infinite variety.

But still, at end of life, we fall,
not so different after all.
At the very end of day,
returned to dust, we blow away.

 

The prompt word today is “finite.” This is a reblog of a poem I wrote two years ago.—

Dead Possum

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Dead Possum

A rude surprise,
it lay like breakfast rejected
on the patio outside the dogs’ sleeping room.

The dogs were restless this morning,
barking for their kibble,
unwilling to follow the rules
that decreed paws known all too well
as lethal weapons needed to be contained,
the dogs in their open cages before I’d venture out to feed.
But some wildness recently sated
drove them to assault the door
and refuse repeated demands to
go to their beds.
They staged their impatient war dance,
telling with growls and claws
the tale of the hunt—
That won battle.

I lock them in their cages
and, order restored, I dish their meals
and free them to their feed.
I walk behind them to secure the sliding glass door,
gather dust pan and broom, plastic pail.
Their quarry too large to fit, let alone be lofted
by a dust pan, I grasp the tail and lower the possum
like a colossal tea bag for a dipping,
into the wash bucket,
walk the long path down to the lower wall,
heft it over into deep underbrush
of the vacant lot next door.

I own that land.
It has been the burial place
of sixteen generations of those possums
too slow for escape,
with teeth and claws insufficient for defense––
every one a battle won
by the dogs
and each one equally mourned––
their wild ferocity not enough
to best even dogs seemingly grown docile
until these night battles
gone unnoticed in my dreams
are brought to view in light of day.

The possum’s fur wet and matted but only slightly torn,
every time I hopefully delude myself
that perhaps it’s playing witness to its name
and only playing possum.
Optimistically, I don heavy gloves and winter coat,
ready for the struggle as I try to save
what an adult part of me knows
no longer is in need of saving.

Each corpse ironically made heavier by loss of life,
that dead weight of it
is echoed in a central part of me
as I try to lift with reverence
this newest evidence
that most of life
and all of death
is out of our control.

Burning Your Journals

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Burning your Journals

Who knew fidelity’s even stance
could be mitigated by circumstance?
That a subtle smile, perchance,
exchanged between you at her advance
would wind up in a swift romance
that flourished in that small expanse
between us and her winsome glance.

Who knew that you would go freelance
when love became our ritual dance?
And that I, still in loving’s trance,
would only learn it later, by chance.
Reading your words, caught twice askance.
First by your death, then grief enhanced
as I suffered loss anew
with this further death of you.

 

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The prompt word today was trance.

“Bleach All the Colors” Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge, Aug 12, 2017

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Bleach all the colors from the flowers. Cancel out the sun.
Stay the music. Still the dance. Tell laughter it is done.
She will not walk this way again so all must cease to walk.
Her conversation’s over. The whole world must not talk.
Earth upon its axis should still its constant motion.
The cook must quiet his cooking pots, the chemist trash his potion.
The universe must end itself now that my true love’s dead,
and I lay myself beside her on our wedding bed.

For Cee’s Black and White Challenge: https://ceenphotography.com/2017/08/10/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-take-a-new-photo-or-photos-any-topic/

Special Delivery

Special Delivery

You hide yourself in shadows deep
to watch me as I fall to sleep.
Half-lidded, with your sleepy stare,
you cup my cheek and stroke my hair.
I do not know as I fall deeper
that you stalk this drifting sleeper.

Once I have no power to resist,
you give my hair a painful twist.
I try to jerk awake but fail.
I tense my muscles, fight and flail,
but I cannot escape your grasp.
I call for help. I moan and gasp.

Sir Nightmare, from where do you come
with death knoll beat on ragged drum?
I hear its pulse now through the day.
At every hour, it sounds the way
back to the horror of the night––
a pathway to that final fight

when I will mount at last that steed
that nightly stands to do its deed
to carry to oblivion
this sleeper off to meet her kin—
that father lost, those lovers three
who wait for my delivery.

Is this nightmare just a dream—
a mere digression from the stream
of conscious thought—a nightly swim
through a fantasy most grim,
or a window showing me
an inevitability?

The prompt word today was delivery.

Word Mill

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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.