Tag Archives: death

Beyond words

An unspeakable tragedy has befallen a friend, and I nevertheless find myself groping helplessly for words to fling into the void.


I am a box with the lid
removed, unable to hold
thought or feeling or will
for motion. Voices rattle and the wind
tears through me: funeral
and four-year-old do not belong
in the same sentence.



Prompted poetry: death

This feels wordy and cumbersome to me; I suppose I need to find some better words so I can use fewer of them. I can’t stay up fiddling with it any more, so here’s a poem for the eighth day of Lent.

Bedside vigil

to the suffering, death is an angel
whose feather-soft hands smooth
lines from the face and untie
knotted muscles

to the watcher, waiting, death
is a cloud shadow that leaves
the landscape radiant
when it passes



Life poetry: untitled

Someone dear to me died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday. Words are not enough, but they are all I have at the moment.

today my heart wears
sackcloth and ashes
squats dumb upon a heap of dirt
too sad even to keen

in time the One who keeps unsleeping
watch over those who struggle
will turn this mourning
into dancing, but not today

Prompted poetry: stars

NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) may be over, but I’m still in a writing groove. This is the second draft of a poem I wrote a couple weeks ago; I’d love to have hear your responses or suggestions.


he said he would die
for the stars in her eyes
too young to know what
a slow death it would be

death by taxes and bills
ten-hour workdays and one
a.m. feedings     death by weddings
funerals and family reunions

emptied through that lengthy
dying we call life
his last breath is a prayer
for the stars in her eyes

(If you like to work from specifics, how does the space in the third line of the second stanza work? I originally had a semi-colon; do you think that would be better?)

Head case, redux

As I lay in bed this morning, eyes closed, I could hear my family moving about the house. Once or twice someone came quietly into the room for something then left just as quietly a few minutes later. I waited without moving, devoid of volition: sooner or later I would either stop breathing or have the desire to move. Neither option seemed more or less attractive than the other, nor did I feel as though the outcome would be by choice. It would simply…happen.

This must be what it’s like for some people when they’re dying, I thought. The quiet sounds of people coming and going, the feeling of calm, the sense of waiting for some process to unfold and reveal itself. I was a little more interested in what would happen if I stopped breathing because I knew what would happen if I stirred: I would begin the half-hour long process of clearing my lungs and sinus cavities of the night’s accumulation of mucus. Yes, I’m still fighting this blasted cold, and yes, I just implied that death would be more interesting and less tedious.

I have been told that I can be quite dramatic at times, and sometimes this overwhelms the message I may be trying to communicate. I acknowledge my tendency to hyperbole; I get it honestly, in different forms, from both sides of my family. But I solemnly swear that this time I am not exaggerating in the least, for dramatic effect or any other purpose. In that moment this morning when I hovered between consciousness and unconsciousness, it truly seemed more interesting to try something I hadn’t done before. It appears unfortunate in the retelling that the untried option was death, but it was wondrous and amazing in the moment of experience and in my memory.