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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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