Tag Archives: poem about death





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.”

Rings of Saturn: Daily Post, the Final Day of 2017

Rings of Saturn

I had taken off my wedding ring years before. How typical of me that I would finally put it on again after he died. I don’t know why I do these things. Perhaps it was easier to be married to a dead man, or perhaps I felt he had finally atoned for his bad behavior, but suddenly that symbol had more significance than it had come to have in life. That sainthood of departure? I’d seen it happen again and again, but I had never been one to run with the pack and so it surprised me so much when I looked down one day and saw his ring on my finger again that I took it off and it has resided in my jewelry box ever since—that hinged red leather lips-shaped jewelry box that opens in a kiss to reveal a  little slit-compartment for rings. A next-door-neighbor of my childhood  had brought it as a hostess gift when she came to Mexico to visit me during that long year after his death when everyone came out of the woodwork to come visit.

Draw a ring around the old. Ring in the new in multiples. Duplication has become such a science—the craftsman thrown out of the ring. With the new three-dimensional copier, what cannot be duplicated, if plastic is your creation material of choice? A plastic gun—complete down to the bullet in its chamber. A perfect functioning model of anything with moving parts. Can each grain of gunpowder be duplicated? One ringie dingie, two ringie dingies. Floating away on the surface of the lake of forget. Is that giving up? Ringing the final buzzer? Burning the evidence in a ring of fire? Burning bridges? A phone rings and rings in the distance. It has that ring of authenticity, but that does not mean it is real.

Ring of thieves. One by one, the days steal my life away. Time is that one thing no one has control over—even Einstein or Hawking, who perhaps understood it more than anyone. Estee Lauder, Timex, Time Incorporated—all profit by time but none have conquered it. We are all in the ring with it whether we know it or not. Others may suffer the black eyes or sound the buzzer, but we are all really fighting the same fight. The smoothest face still wrinkles and the most beautiful voice cracks with age or disappears. Buzzers finally go silent and the arms holding up the signs go saggy. Ring around the rosie. Ring around the rosie. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.


This is a rewite of an essay originally written three years ago. The prompt today was finally.




The faint trace
of ashes and cardamom
sing in the air
you used to pass through.
They fit into my memory
 in their accustomed places,
your aroma lingering
years longer
than the touch of you.


The prompt today is faint.