creativity · life · poetry · writing

I’ll Sit This One Out

Death invites me to dance
extends crooked hand
for crooked hand
takes the gentlemen’s lead

I know his moves –
have watched a time or two
even partnered a few
long, slow waltzes

But I prefer to tango
like the spice and thrill
of life’s lively step
bid him, politely, to move on.

(For Reena’s Exploration challenge: Antidotes to Fear of Death.  Also linking up to Eugi’s Causerie Weekly prompt: dancing.  Image my own)

aging · life · poetry · writing

Do We Ever Know?

Did she know,
setting the empty bottles
on the stoop,
or later, reading the daily
while sipping first morning tea?

Did she have an inclining
as she dropped a letter in the post,
stopped to chat with an old friend,
then hurried home from the shops
to get out of the rain?

And later,
returning from Judo,
as she gave into sudden malaise
and lay down on the bed,
pausing before tending to dinner,
did she know this was the end?

(I wrote this thinking of my Grandmother on her last day, and of course, contemplating my own demise.  I post it here in light of the anniversary of 9/11.  Do any of us know?  And does it matter?  Death leaves so many unanswered questions in its wake.)

 

aging · disability · ME/ CFS · poetry · writing

All But Comatose

If death is sleep
then surely I am close –
body leaden
refuses to budge,
brain a slow crawl

I would feel something –
remorse, fear, confusion –
but the weight of slumber
has numbed senses,
reaction sludge

only a drum, drum
of heart harkens
life’s continued spark –
What thread of will
keeps me hanging on,
surely sleep preferable?

(Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is characterized by exhaustion after exertion.  The fatigue is systemic. )

Family · health · life · poetry · relationships · writing

Raven and Snake

That day, crossing the parking lot,
raven swooped past, snake in clasp –
I took it as a sign, hurried my steps.

The ward nurse stopped me,
revealed the end was near,
appointed me bearer of news.

Me, whom you loved to hate –
lashed with brash comments,
unforgiving of my youth.

Unsurprising, your wrath,
and then the threats –
to be cut from your will

Deeply ingrained the need
to hate, to blame – lawyer
didn’t comply, I remained

Represented you in death,
sorry for a life of lies ,
how often you had to pretend

to love men,
to not be lonely,
that alcohol solved all

Miss you even now –
your caustic presence
irreplaceable, left a hole.

Don’t regret finding you,
getting help, staying
bedside as death knocked.

You’d do the same –
intrinsically linked,
the raven and the snake.

(Linked to Reena’s Exploration Challenge where the prompt is to write about sudden, magical events.)

adversity · aging · creativity · disability · poetry · writing

Soul Stalker

Downy blankets of white softly settle,
Nature gratefully submitting to slumber
as the Earth bids a seasonal adieu.

Inside, my body craving hibernation,
curls into layered bedding, draws shades
against the snowy scene, wills respite.

My soul, a cat, lulled by the miracle
stretches wide paws, arches, ready
to discover some mystic wilderness.

She is primordial, a snow leopard,
camouflaged, elusive, a silent stalker
instinctively hungry for nourishment.

Weakened, I yield, certain she will prey
on this near lifeless flesh, leaving me
bloodless, hide-less:  a mere carcass.

Then I shall lay down in the frigid warmth
of winter’s illusion and surrender rotting
self to the Earth’s core; pray for rebirth.

(Soul Stalker first appeared here in January of 2016.  I am submitting it for dVerse’s prompt: Confessional poetry, hosted by HA.)

aging · Family · health · poetry · writing

The Last Train (Sonnet)

We wait at the station, Mother and I,
one final stop for her – painless she prays;
I linger at bedside – prolonged goodbye –
memories and regrets filling our days.

“We live too long,” she wearily proclaims,
“Why must suffering linger till the end?”
I plea and bargain, call angelic names,
yet the will to survive refuses to bend.

The urgency builds as my time dwindles;
must I leave her in this compromised state?
She rallies and stands on wobbly spindles
dismisses fears – has accepted her fate.

Some destinations are clearly defined –
death is a train whose schedule’s unkind.

(Penned for dVerse’s poetry forms – the sonnet.)

creativity · Family · poetry · spirituality · writing

The Pact

“What happens after death?”
she asked one Sunday, her long, thin body,
stretched weakly across the settee, her cousin,
balancing his dinner plate at her feet.

Sundays they came together – all the family –
for Grandmother’s dinners – the warm waft
of fresh-baked pies, the clank of dishes,
and voices raised over the old farm table.

He shrugged, knowing it was an ongoing
concern – she’d been frail from birth,
this girl he loved – two years younger,
but in every way his peer – said nothing.

“Let’s make a pact,” she blurted with sudden
fervour.  “The first to die will leave a sign.”
“Grandpa’s bells!” They shook on it, and
then with a satisfied grin, she fell asleep.

A more sombre clan gathered mid-week,
eyes red and faces pale with the shock
of loss – no smells of warmth to greet them,
just cold platters prepared by church ladies.

Slumped bodies, heads leaning close,
sipped tea on the place where she’d lain,
that last day – no sound of children’s
laughter, just a hole too hard to bear.

And when the sound came, metal
clanging on metal ringing a joyous
clamour, she was the first to see –
Grandpa’s bells stirring  – her sign!

She knew then that he’d be waiting –
told me so before that last breath,
and as I watched her go, I swear
I could hear the far off ringing of bells.

(Bjorn is hosting at dVerse tonight and challenges to write narrative poetry.  This story of the pact was told to me by my cousin Caroline before she died.  The bells were not as pictured here, but were sleigh bells her Grandfather kept hanging inside the back door.)