Tag Archives: poem about death

Burning Your Journals


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.


IMG_0357 (1)

The prompt word today was trance.

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


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.


The prompt word today reminded me of this poem I wrote three years ago, and since my sister professed it to be one of her favorites, I’m going to post it again:

IMG_1976In case you think peddlers on wheels are a thing of the past, here’s a photo I took in March, 2017 in La Manzanilla, Mexico.

Wish Wagon

Hear the clanging pots, the squeaky wheels?
Over the rise comes the peddler’s cart––
horse with head down, pulling the load,
the jolly man just dangling the whip over her flanks.

Pitchers, fry pans, mops and brooms,
a doll for sis and kites for the boys
who run to greet this week’s happening,
hoping that Pa has spare bills in his wallet this time.

Now hear the “Whoa, Nell!” and see Zeke, the peddler,
swing his bent frame down from his high perch,
Ma drying her hands as she emerges from the kitchen door,
sis attached to her skirts, shy but drawn irresistibly from safety

to see the wonders that the peddler draws from his wagon:
penny candies by the jar and safety pins.
Needles, spoons and dime novels.
Cloth for Ma of calico and new boots for Pa.

Rag rugs made by Ma and traded for a bucket
and a wash pan his last trip here
that haven’t sold and so he won’t need more.
Jangly bracelets like the city women wear.

Her brief laugh scoffs at them.
The very idea. But one finger runs them round
before it draws away. And in her eyes
there is a wistfulness we will not see again

for thirty more years, until another wagon
crests the hill and drives away with her,
that look again frozen on her face
for eternity.

The prompt word today was wheel.

Sifting Time



Version 3

Sifting Time

Suspended between her life and her death,
she measures the intervals from breath to breath,
noting the bed cover’s sinking and lift,
wondering when life will set her adrift.

After a lifetime of effortless health,
she is surprised by the contrasting stealth
and the strength of the grip of what waits at her ending,
no matter what care friends may take in her tending.

As the sands of her life escape through her fingers,
she treasures each grain that stubbornly lingers.
She cannot give up. She has to hold on
until the last grain is fallen and gone.

All of those pleasures that cling to her past
are pleasures now gone. Such pleasures don’t last.
Her life like a book, pages grown stiff with age—
it grows harder and harder to turn the next page.

Her life has turned gritty––a pain and a pleasure.
Each grain that remains both a curse and a treasure.
Afraid to give up what she has for what’s next,
she can’t see the ending. She can’t read the text.

There is no escape and there isn’t a cure,
and though every day goes by in a blur,
yet these last scraps of life still act as a lure
not to give up on life. To simply endure.

The prompt today is curiously similar to yesterday’s.  It is “adrift.”



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.”

On the Precipice


On the Precipice

Toes peeking over, eyes cast away.
I do not want to look today.
Time enough when time is over.
It’s true I’ve ceased to be a rover,
for though I’ve seen the Nile’s beginning,
I can feel my chances thinning
for ever standing at its end.
I’m feeling too close to the bend
to chance the risks travel might take.
I’m living less for living’s sake.

My house and garden fill my world,
increasingly. My life is curled
fast on itself more frequently.
“Becoming” has turned into “be.”
It is not giving up on life
so much as drawing back from strife.
Surely, now’s the time for this,
as I approach that big abyss.

Those of faith are sure they know
the glorious ending to this show
we’ve seen via nature’s invitation;
and yet the minister’s oration
you must admit, is speculation.
That’s why as I stand toe-to-air,
I have no need to see what’s there.
Whatever’s written far below,
it’s where at last, we all will go.

The prompt word today was “precipice.”