Death that is not meant to be

 
Someone dies a death
a death that
was not meant to be
How can the loss
be understood?
 
There has never
been a death that
was meant or not
meant to be
Death has no timing
no caring
no reason
Death is nothing
more than the end
of living
Looking deeper
into death
is looking deeper
into loss alone
For the dying
itself there is no
further explanation
We are flawed
mortal and
as such we die
It is how
the living feel
about it
where
the issue lies

life is to death as tears are to rain

Bright is the light that shines on me 
as I dwell finally
in deathbed reverie
the doctor he talks
and talks and he talks

my wife she weeps
and weeps and she weeps
and time it creeps
and creeps and it creeps

what is this light that shines above
lights pallid face of death
to my love
the darkness it resists
and resists and it resists

in brilliance it glows
and glows and it glows
in radius it grows
and grows and it grows

this light that calls me as my light fades
this light that draws me
to the night of shades
with death it walks
and walks and it walks

my feeble hand I raise and wave
I waver and it waves
faces watch uncertain so grave
grave and so grave

I see my hand stir dust in the air
second last thing I will see anywhere
the dust it wafts
and wafts and it wafts

my brow is mopped
and mopped and is mopped
my hand drops
I drop and it drops

as dust I settle back onto deaths bed
into the pillow sinks my head
life’s weight I shed
I shed and I shed

looking down into the room
I am surprised it is lit
by only gloom
the husk has collapsed
collapsed collapsed

hollowed of life
of life and of life
beside my wife
my wife my beloved wife

the dust dispersed draws my spirit in
and back to dust
I go again
the gift I leave is small but complete
I was loved and I loved
I am replete

Today’s dverse prompt is from Laura, to write words of departure based on your choice from a set of quotes. I chose the quote from a favourite and most remarkable movie – “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” Roy Batty, Blade Runner.

Said Prospero, “Every third thought shall be of my grave.”

 
What Prospero said should not be decried
Give death a rightful standing in our lives
As a lens through which to view the good for which we strive
To ponder temporal versus eternal that is always nigh
To elevate appreciation and despondency defy
 
And so, when vibrant youth immortality implies
When healthy vigour makes the future glisten in our eyes
When happiness is at its peak with all that it supplies
When prosperity creates opportunity many are denied
When security is such that all our fears it belies
Take a moment to remember it is only life that dies
 
Value life through death as on times fleeting wings it flies
The mind that honours death values life on high

Juliet and Romeo

Juliet
is all slick and wet
her long hair in her eyes
she has been hit
by an idiot
drunk driving by 
bye bye

Romeo
roams idly by 
sees the girl on the ground
He looks at her 
quizzically 
then realises what he has found

Juliet
breathes in gasps
as blood pools under her back
She looks up sees Romeo
last look last love
as limbs go slack

Romeo’s
not much you know
but this time 
things are different
He wipes the hair from glazed eyes
and wonders where 
her life went

Juliet
rises above the scene
She watches Romeo
He cradles her head
gently in his lap
He whimpers out a moan

Romeo
struck by love’s full fist
his only love has gone
He whines he weeps
at his loss
Death into his soul creeps

Juliet 
bears final witness to 
Romeo’s last testament
“Did my heart truly love till now?”
he whispers
For the first time 
he knows what love meant
“Good night Good night”
“Thus with a kiss I too die”
He declares to her 
death pale face

Romeo 
bends his head down
tenderly brushes her cold lips 
with his own
he lets her head down 
lightly beside him
as he lies quietly beside her
takes her right hand
with his left

Romeo
from his pocket
retrieves a knife
meant for other men 
he eases the blade
between his ribs
it finds his broken heart
As blood pools under his back
his life is also gone

Juliet 
utters one last cry of grief
before she disappears
or was that one last cry of relief
in hope he reappears
for never was there a story of more woe 
than this of Juliet and her Romeo

Ingrid’s prompt for this week’s dVerse poetics was “Homage to the Bard.” I chose to write a poem approximately on the theme of Romeo and Juliet. https://dversepoets.com/2022/04/26/poetics-homage-to-the-bard/

Okra

Two women sit under a thatched roof 
supported by rafters
coarse wood brown
smiling and chatting together
Chickens scratch at the edge of their shelter
a bold shiny colourful rooster
a big shiny black hen

Their surroundings are a circular patch
dry dusty earth red
small mud brick dwellings
define a perimeter orange
The late autumn day is lit by a cold sun of
clean blue light

One woman sits above the other higher
she is perched
Her long thin legs hang over a shallow edge
a rug covered platform
She is the older in a thick faded purple
dress a pullover yellow
is topped with a scarf white around her neck
Her head is swaddled in a woollen wrap crimson
it frames a face sun
lit, weathered and aged by decades of labour

Spaces such as this
fields such as she can choose
to see at anytime
will forever be green and brown
She gazes pensively across
open communal space
She ponders her past with pleasure and regret
she speaks of things new
old, deep and trivial
Her arthritic hands clasped in a lap
of gratitude flesh
Her battered Nike sneakers peek out from
the long layers of fabric above grey and yellow
her face is calm
Her future as it will be

The younger sits cross legged
a woven mat under her strung tan
Together cultivating lines of okra
drying under sheltering eaves ragged
shadows of indigo host
hangings vertically in bright green
coloured lengths
unclasped necklaces ornaments
of metres adorn the space with a decorative
interior that creates a sense
coming festivity
The drying shed colours the day, the place
it’s people making
according to the crop
a pride of place for transient
prettiness and implications
security, work well done

Here for generations other
younger women have
sat for hours
days post harvest preparing
sustaining products of manual fieldwork
multi hued
for deep grey winter consumption
Her dress is brighter golds
magentas her hands are as yet
unaffected by the gnarly
growths destined by labour
She repeats centuries old weaving
patterns confidently efficiently unhurried
listening quietly thoughtfully respectfully

Tales of the past wash over her black and white
through her as water of life in delicate pastels
as hope as comfort
She knows here there are will be
still lessons to be gleaned
conversation the reflections of her elder
The younger a willing learner of
a quasi meditative state borne soft pink
by the methodical repetitious
nature of her work it is was as surely known
the best way for learning lessons
by the word of her people
successes and failures
myth legend
retelling that never ceases to inform
warm warn entertain and delight

There is comfort in the learning
a knowing that all the natural obstacles over
which there is little control life
will continue on on on
There is no question about how
time is to be spent
day by day this is dictated
by seasons culture necessity
green yellow brown grey

There is no concept of time ticking away
each day is known-quantity where
choice is limited but colour rich
life is sometimes unpredictable dangerous
set fluid simple
giving and taking with impunity
Time has no measure
life itself opaque

Two women commune as did
two before them
back it goes into the dark
blue of distance
where many women become every one
sitting together, stringing up green okra
another part of every year’s never ending
rainbow

Parting

 
 I know I won’t be missing you
 Because you live in my heart too
 It’s not about having your body here
 In my mind you’re everywhere
  
 You also reside in a time and space
 A place of love of ethereal grace
 That supersedes corporeal and now
 That’s my commitment and our vow
  
 We've shared our lives together as one
 With room to grow, make our own fun
 As I watch you go and that time closes
 I can’t think of what the future poses
  
 Yes it hurts, it’s unbearably sad
 But it’s also a marker of the joy we had
 Of the pleasure in each other’s company
 Of everything that will stay with me
  
 No matter what becomes of us as an earthly pair
 Always in my heart you'll be everywhere
 So rest my darling have a peaceful night
 Tomorrow we’ll see what comes of light
 Though parting is near even in plain sight
 We’ll be together forever come what might 
  
   

Fatalism

 
 When you die
 and there’s nothing left of you
 Not a shape
 Not a thought
 Not even a negative space
  
 How will it be
 to be so
 completely deleted?
 You simply aren’t
 anymore

 It doesn't matter
 not a bit
  
 I’ve seen it over
 and over
 Dying 
 A body replete
 Even when critically ill
 enlivened by …..
 something
 Then a husk deplete
 Empty 
 Empty of everything
 Rendering that person
 regardless of eminence 
 of no consequence
  
 What is it 
 to be nothing
 Universally
 less than 
 no consequence
  
 How can it be
 that a consciousness
 Completely
 Absolutely
 Resolutely 
 Instantly 
 degrades
 to nothingness?
 Nil
 Null
 Void
  
 The fact of existence
 confuses us
 Even more so
 conscious life tends to make us think we are important
 When our rational selves
 are fully aware
 that the sheer scale of existence
 reduces us to insignificance 
 
 This is our  lived contradiction 
 Our denial for survival
 When it doesn’t really make any sense at all
 Existence will end
 There was nothing before
 There will be nothing after
 There is no purpose
 to living in between
 but we do
 Clutching at a senseless hope for meaning 
 or  even something better after

It should be enough 
just to be here for the ride
  
  
  
   

Hades begets Persephone

 
She awoke with a raw sense of dread
A cold sweat soaked the sheets of her bed
The sounds that night were not nighttime’s she knew
A hint of smoke contradicted the dew
 
Shadows danced on the bedroom wall
Where dancing shadows should not be at all
The normal still off white of the paint
Was lively with movement and firelight feint
 
She fumbled with billowing robe and nightclothes
Tying her robe up tight as she rose
Into a world of self doubt and fright
She stumbled out into the cold of the night
 
 She touched the back of the door to sense any heat
 Realised she’d no shoes put on her feet
 Sidestepped and slipped into a pair of sandals
 As her hand reached out for the frightful handle 
 
 When she dared to look through the gap in the door
 Using light flickering lively onto the floor
 From her half awake hazy sleep deprived daze
 She wondered if the place was already ablaze 
 
Further she pushed open the portal
Considered precious life and all that was mortal
Within her tiny flat B number 144
She wondered if she could take the fear anymore
 
And she listened alert for other clues
Thought about the price of paying her dues
She heard the crackle and pop of combusting wood
Her only thought now to get out if she could
 
She peered out into a reddish early morning gloom
To an apparently deserted yet eerie lounge room
But there at the side a large shape sat in a chair
Exuding an oppressive weight of despair
 
 The wood fire aglow had strangely been lit
 It certainly was not her who lit it
 A monstrous head turned to look into her face
 An inhuman form by nature disgraced  
 
 He had discreetly followed her around town for weeks
 In peripheral vision never seen when he seeks
 Creating acute nervousness from endless teases 
 A cat playing with a mouse its tormenting pleases 
 
She knew instantly her time had come
It was not to be as life had begun
No comfort from her mother’s caress
No strength to be found on father’s chest
 
 Hades stood to meet her towering ominously above
 Leering and smug antithesis of love
 She resigned herself to the monster’s arms
 Wishing after horror would come blessed dead calm 

In this d’verse challenge https://dversepoets.com/2021/08/03/poetics-persephone/ Sarah asked us to take inspiration from the myth of the abduction of Persephone by Hades. I saw ancient (and not so ancient) patriarchal rituals and modern parallels as I read Sarah’s summation of the story.

The Way

The way a beloved dog rests a lazy head upon your knee

The way a wooing look invites you toward mutual intimacy

The way a cup of tea slows time and calms an over active mind

The way a good book immerses you in new realities that bind

The way a word becomes a story, a poem comes of rhyme

The way a voice becomes emotion, movement becomes a mime

The way a favourite song transports you back to that special place

The way a touch can speak of love as it brushes across your face

The way a first wildflower discovered announces coming spring

The way a view from a mountain can make your heart leap and sing

The way a beautiful landscape incites gratefulness, awe and joy

The way a true love will not  waste time with you by being coy

The way a walk in the forest restores hope, balance and well being

The way a look deep into the stars can change your way of seeing

The way a composted garden grows better in space and over time

The way a perception can be a knowing, a knowing can be a sign

The way a naked body is a beautiful body as long as there is beauty inside

The way a grievous loss becomes warm memory after someone special has died

The way a child’s innocence equates with unqualified trust

The way our lives play out

Live best you can

After it’s just

Dust

Deodands and Pennies

Give deodands and pennies for eyes

Slake the thirst and feast who dies

Then turn to home, to humble pies

Beget, begone, say your goodbyes

 

In forgiveness, honour, deposit the dead

Who in pious mercy, give up their dread

As the vehicle of loss to heaven we send

That god receives to make amends

Said Prospero, “Every third thought shall be of my grave.”

What Prospero said should not be decried

Give death its rightful standing in our lives

As a lens through which to view the good for which we strive

To ponder temporal versus the eternal that is always nigh

To elevate appreciation and despondency defy

 

And so, when vibrant youth immortality implies

When healthy vigour makes the future glisten in our eyes

When happiness is at its peak with all that it supplies

When prosperity creates opportunity many are denied

When security is such that all our fears it belies

Take a moment to remember it is only life that dies

 

Value life through death as on times fleeting wings it flies

The mind that honours death values life on high

Fear

I feel it behind me

stalking and faceless

skulking and malevolent

The hairs on the back of my neck

stand on end

like highly sensitised

oh so brittle antennae

 

I walk more briskly

I am tempted to run

but not tempted to tempt fate

Each step announces

a deepening sense of dread

a heightened anxiety

a rising feeling of panic

 

Evil is about tonight

amongst the chill night air

and the cold dull haloes

of the too distant streetlights

 

There it is again

The faintest of scrapings

rapid and sequential

advancing along the pavement behind me

Demonic footsteps of malicious intent

portents of pain and suffering

They strain my hearing to the point

of questioning whether I hear anything at all

but I know they are there

coming

closing

 

My eyes dart urgently

from side to side

A tic

twitches my cheek

I am shaken to my core

I startle at a moth that brushes my cheek

My head flicks left

My head flicks right

My fully dilated pupils

black as any pit in hell

scream at me for more light

and scour the edges of darkness

for a bolt hole

Sanctuary

any hope to cling too

Peripheral vision

reams in the sidelines

desperately seeking refuge

struggling to see ahead and aside at the same time

 

Sweat begins

to bead my brow

Cold sweat

Shivers

wrack my body

I begin to whimper

I don’t want to hurt

to plead for my life, my soul

for mercy

I don’t want to die alone

I don’t want to die here

and now

 

A movement

in the corner of my eye

I stumble in fright

miss the kerb

roll my ankle

The pain shoots up into my calf

and something tears

I gasp

My flight becomes hobbled

I limp on in fear

dragging my injured foot

scraping the rubber of the sole

on the hard surface

of coarse concrete

 

Then

comes the first touch

An icy point

A razor-sharp prickle

pierces my jacket

In one swift motion

needlelike it penetrates the fabric

just breaking the surface of my skin

 

From my lower back

a cold finger of ice

tracks a paralyzing pathway

up toward my right shoulder

Muscles cramp

then seize

into an excruciating knotted strip

of rock solid pain

Futile teardrops begin to fall

I sob in absolute horror

and misery

“Oh God, help me, somebody help me!”

I wheel

there is nothing there

 

 

The second touch

burns

as a keenly sharp edge

slices a clean shallow line

fully across my left cheek

This one is hot

like dry ice

The blood flows

as thick warm syrup

It makes its way down my pallid face

mixing with the tears and snot of fear

dripping onto my stained clothes

gluey on my hands

I didn’t even sense the blade coming

let alone what wielded it

 

Dread wells up inside me

threatens to overwhelm me

I pursue escape

from terrifying pursuit

The road is empty

straight

as far as the opaque darkness

allows my eyes to see

Where pavement ends

terraformed tracts of bare earth begin

A homeless housing estate

 

At the periphery of illumination

feebly provided by each dreary streetlight

is murk

thick with ominous foreboding

It envelops the world

on this souless, moonless night

Hope fades

 

The third touch

is a heavy thump

in the small of my back

It cripples me

I stagger

It is all I can do not to collapse

I must stop to breathe

to fall on my haunches

straining to fill my airless lungs

 

I double over

when I need to stand

I pause

when I need to run

I falter

when I need courage

I give into weakness

when I need to find strength

I heave

when I need to draw breath

 

The fourth touch

comes as a surprise

Desperately preoccupied with surroundings and survival,

my head and neck are parted,

as I miss the prophecy of imminent death

but fleetingly register

oh timely release

oh sweet oblivion

33 kinds of rain

The misting rain as light as being

The pitter patter rain of anticipation

The sun shower rain of joyfulness

The dawn lit rain of new awakenings

The driving rain of persistent harassment

The piercing rain of pain and hurt

The bleak rain of uncertainty

The saturating rain of grief

The pounding rain of anger

The cold rain of fear and loathing

The persistent rain of melancholy

The drought breaking rain of celebration

The tropical rain of surprise and relief

The tin roof rain of night time snuggles

The slanting rain of getting under your skin

The fat wet rain of things to come

The dull rain of misery

The easing rain of hope for a day

The sheeting rain of washing your sins away

The aerosol rain that never settles

The eddying rain of indefinite endings

The ominous rain of growing darkness

The thunder laden rain of shock and awe

The storm driven rain of nature’s authority

The drenching rain of no escape

The floating rain of disproportionate outcomes

The harrowing rain of oppression and spite

The lightning flash rain of vision burned

The unexpected rain of scrambling for shelter

The flooding rain of tears

The icy rain of an unknown future

The sleety rain of chilled to the bone

The sunlit rain of clarity of purpose

The dancing rain of swirling possibilities

The evening rain of contemplation

The elemental rain of fundamental outcomes

The cloaking rain of secrecy

The wispy rain of dissipation

The hard rain of death

The transparent rain of release

The soft rain of peace

The Death of Miss Richards

 

Unknown

Did you read A S Patric’s Black Rock White City? “The Death of Miss Richards” stands alone as a poem, but read the book to meet the character properly. Highly recommended.

Why did miss richards die

Jump in front of the train

Without learning to fly

She broke her wrists and her ankles

Before the Hallam train hit

For the briefest of moments

She hurt a bit

Although and however

She may have been hurting

Previously forever

 

Why didn’t miss richards cry

Let out her feelings

Sob, weep and sigh

 

Miss Richards always looked so content

Nose in a book

Mind being sent

Not a woman in pain

Not a lass to complain

Of a heart broken or rent

And she ate vegetarian food

For the soul

It looked good

It makes you wonder how should

What actually could

Make miss richards want to die

 

Miss Richards looked serene

Like one in a dream

Thoughtful and peaceful

Quiet as a mouse

I note she loved music

And the capacity to choose it

Her playlists sashay lists

Of walls without bridges

As we on the ridges

Played miss richards I spy

 

I never said hi miss richards

Nor hello now goodbye

So she sat by herself until lunchtime went by

Miss richards headphones and book

Ne’er one to sook

Ne’er a wet eye

As she kept to herself

Alone on her shelf

Self sufficient as one cloud in a blue blue sky

Oh why oh why

Did miss richards have to die

33 kinds of rain

The misting rain as light as being

The pitter patter rain of anticipation

The sun shower rain of joyfulness

The dawn lit rain of new awakenings

The driving rain of persistent harassment

The piercing rain of pain and hurt

The bleak rain of uncertainty

The saturating rain of grief

The pounding rain of anger

The cold rain of fear and loathing

The persistent rain of melancholy

The drought breaking rain of celebration

The tropical rain of surprise and relief

The tin roof rain of night time snuggles

The slanting rain of getting under your skin

The fat wet rain of things to come

The dull rain of misery

The easing rain of hope for a day

The sheeting rain of washing your sins away

The aerosol rain that never settles

The eddying rain of indefinite endings

The ominous rain of growing darkness

The thunder laden rain of shock and fear

The storm driven rain of nature’s authority

The drenching rain of no escape

The floating rain of disproportionate outcomes

The harrowing rain of oppression and spite

The lightning flash rain of vision burned

The unexpected rain of scrambling for shelter

The flooding rain of tears

The icy rain of an unknown future

The sleety rain of chilled to the bone

The sunlit rain of clarity of purpose

The dancing rain of swirling possibilities

The evening rain of contemplation

The elemental rain of fundamental outcomes

The cloaking rain of secrecy

The wispy rain of dissipation

The hard rain of death

The transparent rain of release

The soft rain of peace