Keep no promises to the dead.
That is a book that can't be read.
Life's path meanders; pages turn.
Time and new circumstance will burn all that you said.
You'll become a different you.
And the dead one is changing too.
The life here retreats to the past.
The soul says goodbye, and at last goes somewhere new.
The dead don't need or heed your word.
They leave who they were; you're unheard.
Death may be peaceful or violent.
No matter: to remain silent is not absurd.
It's otherwise while they're dying.
Speak loud, let the words come flying.
Promise anything that they ask.
Comfort, then, is your only task – even lying.
Later, let yourself be absolved.
Cycles of grief will have revolved.
There will come time to pause, look back.
You'll see that, walking this long track, you have evolved.
Survival IS the going on.
Move forward, beyond what is gone.
If you are still alive, then live!
That's the best, only gift to give to your loved one.
Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif: Survival. The suggested topic has to do with surviving violence. I have little experience of that. Instead, the first line of this poem jumped into my head and I went from there. I have been widowed a little over three years. In fact, no promises were asked or made at his dying – and if he had asked anything from me, it would have been exactly what I say in the final verse. But perhaps I had subconscious stuff to evolve from. And I do see that I have evolved. It may seem a cynical poem, but it feels positive.
The form is a Florette: a recent prompt from dVerse, which I didn't have time to address until now. To make every line a finite sentence was my own addition, for some unconscious reason – something to do with the finality of death, perhaps.