Tag Archives: death


I’m not ready for the friends of my youth to die.

I just told, again, the story,
the story of you,
to another youth,
to another generation,
the day before you died.
I can’t tell my story without telling of you.
A lost, hidden youth I was,
trying to be a rebel
but failing to even look the part
with my scraggly hair
and untucked shirt.
But you saw me.
You loved me in.
You opened the Book.
You taught me to sing.
You made me believe in me –
pathetic, rebel, hiding me.
We’ve lived apart for the past three decades
and more,
so why does it pierce me so
to know that we no longer enjoy
the same sun
rising and setting
that we no longer feel the same breeze
or wonder at the heavens above?
But it does, to the core of me, it does.
Where is your sting, O death?
Why, here. Again. And again.

I’m not ready for the friends of my youth to die.

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Posted by on October 10, 2015 in Poetry


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viewing death through a banister rail


That’s how it felt.
Viewing death through a banister rail,
hovering around it like an invisible presence.

yet hot
anticipation like
standing on the verge
of beginnings yet untold.

An intersection of reality where
breath ceases
time stops
and it’s we who live whose hearts
are flat lined
as, unbidden,
the windows of heaven
are opened.

And then, with movement forced,
the walking dead step out
into sunlight
into bracing, frigid air,
into the great swooshing world
and the ceaseless second hand.

How surreal, how utterly odd thus to stand
like Aaron,
between the living and the dead
only this plague won’t stop.
Like Phinehas I look for something to stab
to halt the spread.

But the dead keep dying
and the living keep

As I gaze upon the moving I wonder
“how many truly live?”
as in remembered gaze
I look upon the motionless
and know how much he did.

And does.

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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Poetry


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what do you say to someone who is dying?

Not more than you should;
Not less than is needed.

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Sometimes there’s nothing to be said at all.
Tears will do nicely.
A quiet sitting by can be the best medicine of all.
Especially for those who doubt their own grasp of wisdom
in knowing the difference.

Sometimes black humor will do wonders.
Laughter – to tears, through tears – can provide precisely
the hand-hold needed
to climb the sheer face of terror
and assault dark uncertainties.

Sometimes it’s the foothold
of a poem,
a song,
a reading.

Sometimes it’s a prayer.
Not performed,
but felt

Midwives for the dying, we are,
for what is death but

To avert our eyes
to fidget
to nervously shift one foot to the other
to pretend that we’re not staring at death
is like pretending a woman is not really in labor as she screams.

Midwives for the dying, we are.
Helping them breathe through the contractions,
freeing them to find the most comfortable position
to find their own way
rather than shackling them with ours.

But we are midwives inside the womb;
we don’t see the head crowned;
new life isn’t released into our hands;
it is a birth away from us
not towards us,
a birth into other waiting Hands
to receive
to swaddle
to name
to nurse
to bring home
to release into a new world bursting with unimaginable possibilities.

No tears on that side
that side we cannot see
at least no tears like these.

Only here
on this side
this dark womb-y side
as we are left holding a bloody severed cord
cut by other Hands
we judge cruel
as we wail at these dark, confining


for our own birth.

War Drums_Marten

or, as suggested by my friend Lisa’s work, sometimes war drums will do nicely too…and paint


Posted by on December 11, 2014 in haverings, Poetry


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O Captain! My Captain!_1


Whitman mourned for Lincoln.
I for Lula.
Young girl captain of my soul.
O Captain! My Captain!
How you have perched me atop my bookish desk
to see the world anew.
O Captain! My Captain!
fallen cold and dead.

We move too quickly to comfort, I think.
Too quick to speak of one cold and dead being with sweet Jesus
of painting dawn’s landscape for us
or flying in heaven’s vaulted eternal skies
of bodies perfect
of pain’s demise
of happier times ahead.

And this is necessary.
Who can blame us?
When sword pierces heart with unrelenting, unmerciful thrusts
Who can blame us for trying to look beyond the blows?

O death, where is thy sting? asks apostle most holy.
Why here.
In this chasm.
On this bed of grief and loss and pain.

Death, I feel thy sting.



Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Poetry, Suffering


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