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.

24 November 2015

Surviving the Going On


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.

23 comments:

  1. Rosemary, this is a brilliant write! I am very intrigued by the form and the rhyme scheme, very cool. LOVE the message in the poem, so much truth and wisdom in your words. Love the evolving! This was a treat to begin my morning reading with. Yippee!

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    1. It was an interesting form to experiment with. :)

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  2. Oh yes, I agree that moving forward is what it is all about. Really I think deceased loved ones would wish that for us really. I was kind of struck by 'keep no promises to the dead.' Those loved ones I know have not asked anything of me, but I am comforted by thinking they would have wished the very best, for not to live in the past, but to live in the present & beyond. A very wise poem.

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    1. Yes, as I say in my process notes, all your remarks about promises apply to me too. But where did that first line come from, I wonder, welling straight up from the subconscious? I can only think that at some level I was feeling some unnecessary obligations, and some wiser part of me decided it's time to put me right.

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  3. That first line grabbed my attention. I had absence by death in my poem as well. "Survival IS the going on"--the changing. If I could say it better, I would have written this poem! Powerful, and amazing form.

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  4. Beautiful work on the form Rosemary... it compliments and adds more emphasis to your poem! Especially adore the opening lines :)

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  5. I do not see this wise and wonderful poem as cynical in anyway - the opening lines are a gift and going on seems to honour that...a positive poem which truly does illuminate an evolution..and hope

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  6. Comfort in their final moments...later we can think of us.

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  7. "Keep no promises to the dead.
    That is a book that can't be read." ~ Such wise, thought provoking words. They will stay with me for a long, long time :)

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  8. luv your opening verse,
    "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."

    It lulls you to stay, yet, you know, you have to read further to the end

    have a nice Wednesday

    much love...

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  9. The first line leads into a most excellent poem with great attention to detail. I like the idea of the finite sentences. But I did keep a promise to my father, two in fact: I quit smoking and I stopped biting my nails. The last stanza though is the true wisdom for in truth, those who loved us would want us to continue to live, love, and have joy. Very and profound knowledge in this stanza.

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  10. Your words are so full of wisdom...and has a unique quality to make the mind tranquil...

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  11. This was a blessing for me to read. Thank you.

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  12. We can't go back, we can only move onward. There is so much wisdom in this piece and you have expressed it so beautifully.

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  13. I think I would want others to continue living when I am gone...life is for the living ...celebrate life...I have been with a couple of family members when they crossed. Of course we would tell them anything to give them peace in their last moments.

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  14. time to pause, look back.
    you'll see that, walking this long track,
    you have evolved

    Wise words Rosemary! It is necessary to reflect every now and then. To look back to savor the progress one has made. This will spur it on to bring it to a higher level!

    Hank

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  15. Very interesting poem . Comfort must be given to the dying. A younger me would say don't lie and did not. An older me regrets not doing so.

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    1. I think we all do the best we can in the moment.

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  16. It is a harsh reality the kind of survival you speak of - it hits you and you cannot be prepared. I do like the florette it fits nicely

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  17. Your poem is indeed a powerful mantra to ensure personal survival, Rosemary. Well penned!

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