Tag Archives: poem about the death of a loved one

The Bee Keeper


A fine poet and wonderful man passed away a few days ago, just a few days before the private launch party for his newest book of poetry, The Alphabet of Longing and Other Poems. Today, I attended the memorial and celebration of life for Jim Tipton that took the place of festivities meant to be his book launch. In all, there were two hours of tributes and readings from Jim’s work. For my tribute, I wrote this brief poem in which I try to wed a number of the loves of his life: bee keeping, poetry and his appreciation of women.


The Bee Keeper

A keeper of words,
he was a tender man with fine vision
and a honeyed tongue adept at sharing it.

A man who loved women,
but not a ladies man,
his heart could stretch to fit everyone.

He was the one among us who knew how to see the other side.
A champion of the beleaguered,
when most found fault, he always had a kind word to say.

Words lived with him. He set them free and always grew more.
Poetry buzzed around him like bees.
He was a man who knew both bees and how to be.


Because Jim missed this party, I wanted to include these photos of him enjoying the last party I saw him at—last September’s awards luncheon for El Ojo del Lago. As you can see, he was a man who knew how to enjoy life to its fullest. Those of us who knew him through the poetry or music world, his neighbors and his family will feel the huge space left by his exit from our lives. Fly free, lovely man.

Jim’s earlier book of poetry Letters from a Stranger (with an introduction by Isabel Allende) may be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Stranger-James-Tipton/dp/0965715922

His newest book, The Alphabet of Longing, will be availble on Amazon in June.  It is presently available at Diane Pearl’s Colecciones  and Yves Restaurant in Ajijic. 

Parts of Him


Parts of Him

You look so like him on our passing—
that strongly muscled arm,
his hair brushing your shoulder,
but you do not have his charm.

Your hands curl in a gesture
so familiar in its kind,
but they do not form the magic
his hands mold within my mind.

Your smile is so like his—
that chortle when you laugh—
but I see you cannot be him
as we pass upon the path.

Your stance is his, your bearing
when I see you from afar.
It’s just as we draw nearer
I see who you really are.

These long years since his passing,
I still look for him in places
where in the crowds I search him out
in unsuccessful faces.

Each similar demeanor
reaches out a tentacle
to draw me to a likeness
that, alas, is not identical.

The prompt today is identical.

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.

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


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/

NaPoWriMo2017, Day 3: Reliquary

daily life color241

On Sunday morning under orange bougainvillea,
Your picture spills from an old album.
You were on a verandah under purple bougainvillea,
drinking the hot noon from your coffee cup
as I drank passion fruit and watched Lake Tana birth the Nile.

Later, kneeling by the river, I made my hand into a cup,

but you called out that slow death swam the blood
of those who touched the river,
while behind you on harsh branches,
black birds barked stark music.

Now, on Sunday morning under orange bougainvillea,
half a world and half a life away,
 I restore you to your proper place, remembering how,
when they laid you down to dream beneath the purple bougainvillea,
it was passionfruit’s sweet poison that flavored my life.


Please also see this elegy: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2016/10/11/look-up-poem-for-a-good-good-girl/

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to write an elegy.