Tag Archives: poem about death

Swimming to Sandy Bottom


jdb photos. Click on any image to enlarge all.

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

Working my way to sandy bottom,
through murky waters growing clear.
Through all the things I daily think of,
I hone in on what I hold dear.

Swimming down to sandy bottom,
down to past truths and future fears.
The daily details float behind as
I face old matters in arrears.

If my whole life should tell a story,
how do the details all add up?
I’ve always thought time was a sieve, but
perhaps I’ll find it was a cup.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
the flotsam of my years floats near.
All the past terrors and past glories,
and future truths I’ve come to fear.

Trying to reach that sandy bottom,
no oxygen to draw my breath.
Working our ways to sandy bottom,
we spend our lives to buy our death.

All the glories and the triumphs.
All the failures and the fears.
All the trophies we’ve collected,
and all the tattered, used-up years.

Working our ways to sandy bottom,
will there be gold grains in the sands?
Too late to spend discovered riches,
they slip like lives right through our hands.

Working our ways to sandy bottom,
our lives lift up as we swim down,
As we leave the past behind us,
we find our future all around.


This was actually written as a song.  I had a melody in my mind as I wrote it, but it awaits a more talented composer of music than I am. The daily addiction prompt word was “hone.”

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,
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.


For NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29.




                                              — 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.





Every tortured ending, every tearful parting
may simply be the means to another soul’s restarting.
Freshening up our memory, clearing off the clutter.
Making our way simpler, like a warm knife cutting butter.
Why do we fuss and bother? Why do we tear our hair
when we’re suddenly a single after being a pair?
Another game has started—to find each other again
in another life or this one. How can we know when?
Life is an adventure, a continual seeking
full of little wrinkles in need of constant tweaking.
We’re blind to the whole of it, but often get a peek
to help us find the goal that we are meant to seek.
We are the markers in a game whose players we don’t know—
impetuously wishing the game were not so slow.
We want to know our endings and what we will be getting
when in truth each ending will just be a resetting.





The prompt today is restart.

For Country School Children Perished in the Prairie Blizzard of ’52

For Country School Children Perished in the Prairie Blizzard of ’52

Cruel winds dispersed the swirling white
to cover up the prairie light.
They felt its cruel keening bite
clinging to them, clear and bright
as they, too, disappeared from sight.

By the time the storm had reached its height,
not one survived to tell her plight.
They found them on that snow-banked night—
arms raised aloft with hands held tight—
two sisters lost to nature’s might.

I had heard the story of the two little Judd girls who froze to death attempting to get home from their country school just North of my home town of Murdo, South Dakota, when a blizzard hit, but I had always thought it happened long before I was born.  In checking the facts, however, I discovered it was during the blizzard of ’52, when I was four years old—the same blizzard I’ve described twice on my blog. No electricity, my dad trying to get to his cattle to break the ice on their water tanks, all of use sleeping huddled around the fireplace in the living room, tunneling down main street to get into stores, stepping out of my second-story window onto a snowbank. My parents must have shielded me from the story of the two little girls—one three years older than I was, the other my sister’s  age—until I was older, although my sister Patti, who is four years older than me, has since told me she knew at the time and that she had played with the two little girls at the home of their cousins, who lived in town. Here their story is told briefly, in two five-line stanzas. The prompt from dVerse Poets was to write a five-line poem. So, I cheated a bit.

Ten Ways I’d Prefer Not to Die

IMG_7413The remains of the day.  After the food was eaten, the wine drunk and the stories told.

I had a little dinner last night for three women who are in my writing group as well as their husbands, one of whom is also a writer.  It was a magical evening, starting with a spectacular sunset I was too busy to photograph. We were on my back porch, which empties onto the sand.  The ocean is less than twenty steps away, the sun dipping into it like a great teabag, staining a pathway through the rolling waves.

After dinner and a good deal of wine as well as wonderful conversation, including each of us telling the others what we had done to deserve being in this beautiful place with these people, I asked everyone to read a piece they’d written.  My friend Linda Crosfield read this piece and gave me permission to share it with you.  I’ll put the first five stanzas here, then give you a link to her blog where you can see the last five stanzas.  Just scroll down through a few other poems on her blog and you’ll find it:

Ten Ways I’d Prefer Not to Die


Not for me Virginia’s stony stride
through sweet-sipped waters
meant to cool the brow
slake the thirst
streaming veil the cresting waves’
white dress—white death


Not for me the sound of my own bones
crunched in some heedless mouth
wrapped ‘round my head.
Don’t care if it’s protecting young
or its next meal
let not that meal be me


No fall from trees or towers
no plummet to the ground
my fifteen minute’s fame
reduced to a couple of lines
on page fourteen of some newspaper
no one reads any more


No snow-swept hills
no avalanche for me
I carry no transceiver


No rattler will reduce my flesh to sponge
its spring-thaw poison coursing through my veins
the horror of the strike
making all that follows
the lesser nightmare

Now, to see the remaining 5 ways, go to Linda’s blog where you will see other wonderful poems she has written as well: 

Near Horizons

Near Horizons

You have your own horizon, and my dear, I have mine;
but whatever journeys we take towards our decline,
no matter how we see our end—that final box of pine—
I do not want my journey to be a narrow line.
There are so many hills to climb before that last recline.
A few surprises would be good. Adventures would be fine.
I have a few more lives to live before that number nine!
And when it comes––that time when I must meet with the divine,
it will do no good to fight it—to struggle or to whine.

I hope that it comes quickly as I lie supine.

The prompt today is horizon.

Leap Year


Leap Year

This year, indivisible by four,
is nonetheless a leap year.
As friends fall away from my life
like leaves losing hold,
I make adjustments,
searching for a direction
other than down,
spread my wings,
letting that stubborn wind
that blows me
determine my direction.


A quadrille for dVerse Poets. The prompt is “leap.”