I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world,
to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

16 April 2014

Anti-Elegy

“Guess who died?” I said. “It was on facebook.
Oh, a week or so ago.  The person who posted it
described him as kind!" [Meaningful pause.] "And humble!”  
We raised high eyebrows at each other.

“You know,” I said, “I kept bumping into him
all over town,  that last week before he died.
Not to speak to, though. That is, I chose not;
pretended I didn’t see him. Which I still don’t regret."

“She was a lovely woman,” said my friend.
“She was,” I agreed, and we fell silent, remembering
his wife, whom we loved … her death nine years ago….
“Well — I hope he worked out his karma,” I said.



April Poem A Day Challenge, 2014, day 16: An elegy.

Also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #274 on 19 Oct. 2015.

23 comments:

  1. I like the conversational tone of this, Rosemary. It sounds as if 'humble' and 'kind' were a bit of a stretch of the truth....or so it seems. But then again people generally have nice things to say about the dead, don't they!

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    1. Yes, that is indeed what I was meaning to convey. My friend and I perhaps knew him better than the person who posted the notice, and could hardly think of less applicable epithets. But, as you say, people don't speak ill of the dead. and even we didn't at that moment –except in veiled ways, understood between us. It was hard even to utter my final, slightly charitable remark.

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  2. I have often wonder why an elegy often seem to be filled with lies. But maybe humble and knd sounds like something quite the opposite.

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  3. The other reaction is "Who on earth are they talking about, are you sure it's the same person?".

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  4. Agree with Mary...the conversational tone is so well executed. Like the last line too.

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  5. Reverence can be paid without too much sugar - and i love the parting lines...some people are kinder and more lovely than others..in life and perhaps too in death...always good to follow our instincts and heart...

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  6. interesting style, this conversational tone in the poem.
    i think it works very well this way. :)

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  7. Intriguing.. this is the first time I have come across an elegy. I admire the natural flow of conversational tone in this exquisite piece. Well penned!

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  8. A sad little snippet of conversation, aptly named.--funny, bittersweet. I love it. I felt for the missing of a loved one buried in it. In our inability to speak ill of the dead, we also cannot speak longingly of them--and if we are free after years and years of togetherness, dare not say how much we enjoy the freedom even while loving the dear departed.

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  9. I love how you captured a moment that we've probably all been in before. I just read your Poets United interview this morning, and loved hearing more about you. And your poems are beautiful!

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  10. You convey so much here, Rosemary, without stating it, which is very good writing. I can gather so much from the lifted eyebrows, the veiled back story, which my imagination leapt upon. If he didnt work out his karma, he will soon enough, LOL. Really good writing, my friend. Would actually make a good short story. Especially if you let what isnt said speak louder than what is.

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    1. Thanks for your understanding, Sherry. I think you're good at reading between the lines! The short story idea is a good one.

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  11. intriguing and tersely woven - clever!

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  12. Sigh....close people always want to remember the positive things about someone who departed....like the form of conversation, provided all opinions and views....

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  13. yeah, sometimes you have to let karma do its work :)

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  14. Nice style in your telling
    Have a good Sunday

    Much love...

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  15. Sometimes there is more to the story..and raised eyebrows give clues to the lines in between.

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  16. An interesting piece of poetic prose ~ sometimes people on Facebook are not who they say they are. This could be expanded into a short story or flash fiction.

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  17. I like what you only suggest here with the raised eyebrows and your final words. We do have a tendency to not want to speak ill of the dead. Sometimes that's so much harder than others,

    Elizabeth

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  18. This is lovely ... charming, a wee bit drool ... with a wonderful wisp of tenderness for a departed friend.

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  19. I liked the honesty in this! It made me smile - he died but everyone remembered what a lovely woman his wife was. I did not get to post this week, oh Poetic Triplet, but will see you all next week!
    Spencer is Kanzensakura

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  20. Those raised eyebrows say more than any words could ever!

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  21. I like the feel of this one. So very like Robert Friday's early work.

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