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Posts Tagged ‘death’

Yesterday I received a copy of my fathers last will and testament in the mail as is a required part of the probate of his estate. I won’t go into the contents publicly, but it brought the loss once again very much to mind, as well as the years of absence we both endured from each other.
 
I found this beautiful, sad poem written by one of the best young poets I have found in quite some time, Warsan Shire. It brought a needed calm to me, as it embraced the emotions I feel as well.
 
 
Backwards
by Warsan Shire,
 
for Saaid Shire
 
The poem can start with him walking backwards into a room.
He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life;
that’s how we bring Dad back.
I can make the blood run back up my nose, ants rushing into a hole.
We grow into smaller bodies, my breasts disappear,
your cheeks soften, teeth sink back into gums.
I can make us loved, just say the word.
Give them stumps for hands if even once they touched us without consent,
I can write the poem and make it disappear.
Step-Dad spits liquor back into glass,
Mum’s body rolls back up the stairs, the bone pops back into place,
maybe she keeps the baby.
Maybe we’re okay kid?
I’ll rewrite this whole life and this time there’ll be so much love,
you won’t be able to see beyond it.
You won’t be able to see beyond it,
I’ll rewrite this whole life and this time there’ll be so much love.
Maybe we’re okay kid,
maybe she keeps the baby.
Mum’s body rolls back up the stairs, the bone pops back into place,
Step-Dad spits liquor back into glass.
I can write the poem and make it disappear,
give them stumps for hands if even once they touched us without consent,
I can make us loved, just say the word.
Your cheeks soften, teeth sink back into gums
we grow into smaller bodies, my breasts disappear.
I can make the blood run back up my nose, ants rushing into a hole,
that’s how we bring Dad back.
He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life.
The poem can start with him walking backwards into a room.
 
Warsan Shire, “Backwards.” Copyright © 2014 by Warsan Shire.
 

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1. Your ashes blown eastward

Memories fade like flowers

Phoenix cries at night

 

 

2. We take our final walk

Your ashes mix with the frozen ground

The snow learns your name.

 

David Henry Hass,

Jan. 5, 1928 – Jan. 12, 2017

Missing my father, he died last week and his ashes were spread over his favorite hunting spot without a ceremony, as was his wish.

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He clicks his tounge behind his teeth
Says it sounds like a cricket

He has no idea what a cricket sounds like

He has yet to hear one

But his radiant smile

And giggle as he starts down the slide

Sun turning his blonde hair white

The gentle wave, just fingers 

As his laughter follows him from the 

Top of the slide

To my arms waiting at the bottom

All wrapped up in a smile better 

Than any Christmas present

I want to tell him I’m his daddy

I want to keep him safe from harm

I want to keep that Christmas present smile

But he can’t see me

He can’t hear me

My voice merely falls lifeless

From my world to his. 

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The angels of heaven,

You say, “They can’t see us”.

Ah, but they can!

Their tears are the rain

That falls on the coffins

Of every refugee

Who never met

The better world.

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He ran from the Cross that chased him,
Afraid of the impending combination
When the wooden slabs mix with the living skin
Burning its way into its own eternity.
The permanence seared into his consciousness
Face white as a ghost, unrecognizable,
His wife would say she “had no idea who he was”

The onlookers hid behind the altar,
The tombstones in the churchyard were
Reminders of their failures.
Too terrified of their own original sins
They had no clue how to react, unable or unwilling,
Stuck to the pews, their skirts barely caused a rustle.

His face pressed against the church windows,
His fear expressed something they don’t dare talk about,
They fell to their knees and whipped themselves
In silent moans that speak of their undying emptiness.
Glad for their sins and their shame,
Their only true feelings,
They prayed in self-effacing earnestness
Gratitude to an invisible God
They marveled at how it can make them feel alive

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Source: Where Have They Gone, poem 2

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Source: Where Have They Gone, poem 1

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Source: Loss…..Alla Helgons Dag, All Saints Day, a poem in a prose shroud

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The door.  Introduction
This photo was taken last night as i waited for the bus to take me to work. As you can see it’s of a normal entry into a normal apartment building.  The outside is covered up with scaffolding and netting now because they are putting a new facade on.  I started to wonder who lived there? What stories do they have?  I’m going to use this door to tell their stories. Just a couple of paragraphs for each tenant together with a new edit of the pic, the lady who turns 100, the quiet guy no one remembers, the angry young man, the asylum seeker. I hope you find it intriguing

The first story in the sequence, The Door, part 1, Gunbrit

Early morning 25th of November,  a cold wet morning, Gunbrit awakened and thought back in time. Tomorrow would be her 100th birthday and she wondered if anyone would remember. Bengt, her husband had passed long ago, and she had not spoken to her only child, Ole, in years. She remembered the last conversation they had together. It was the First of May, International Workers Day. She had just found out that he was going to demonstrate with the Nazis. She told him she was ashamed of him and never wanted to see his face again. Those words haunted her as she faced the morning, as they had every morning since then. Sweden was, to her, the most free country in the world and her pride in that reputation was enormous. She had been a lifelong member of the left party, strong and proud in her belief in the equality of all, a fact which no doubt fuelled her adamant refusal to make amends with her son. She had, in fact, not spoken his name in years.
Though she was fragile of course, at her advanced age, she was still spry mentally and maintained a semblance of self sufficiency surprising for someone at 100 years. She got out of bed and went to start the day. Her home assistant would be there soon to help her with breakfast and all that went into her increasingly limited existence. She rarely left the apartment anymore for health reasons she felt  her world was collapsing in on it’s self.  She turned on the radio, the volume very high so she could hear it, Always station P1, she hadn’t missed the program “God Morgon Världen” in a very long time, she felt like she was friends with the hosts. It brought her pleasure to hear their voices. She remembered the flower shop that she and her late husband had opened down the block. They had owned it for 30 years before retiring. The money the had made selling it went to travel. They both loved life and always went with the moment, a fact that she never regretted even though she had precious little money now.

In the many years in the neighborhood she had made many friends, but sadly she had outlived those who had not moved on and she was always bad at staying in touch. That meant that there was no one around that she felt close to, that she could talk to or invite to a fika. Her upcoming birthday was a reminder of her isolation.

Maria was to be her assistant that day, she tried to be nice to Gunbrit but it was difficult. With her own problems to deal with and the work conditions, constant understaffing causing the most unreasonable demands, Maria didn’t have the time or energy to do what the job required. Gunbrit loved the flowers she brought, but always wished that Maria could stay longer. Maria had made plans to have a small celebration for her birthday tomorrow, a princess cake and a card together with flowers, but that was tomorrow. Today, she was running late and trying hard to get there on time. She knew that Gunbrit, even with her stubborn self sufficiency needed much help.

Digging her keys out of her handbag, Maria opened the door to find Gunbrit on the floor. She rushed to determine what had happened and if she was breathing. As she leaned over, she heard Gunbrit mutter a word with her last breath, a word she hadn’t said in decades, “Ole”

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Eldercare: The Forgotten Feminist Issue..

 

This is superb. It really made me stop and think, not of the issues it raises, but also because my own parents are aging more and more rapidly, both in their mid 80’s, both back in the US, half the way around the world from me and I am powerless to end the process. Caregivers deserve all the support, both finacialy and emotionally that they can get, and yes, it IS a feminist issue. As I am learning as I spend more time in Sweden and more time with my wonderful, brilliant, passionate enlighted and enlightening wife, EVERYTHING is a feminist issue!  As she just pointed out, you can view things with an avid eye or a blind eye. What color eyes do you have?

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