Tag Archives: Death

The Philosophy of Choice

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was offered by Brian Miller, back from a 5-month break from the pub. During his absence, he took a philosophy class and so is calling us to write about philosophy, with the requirement that our poem be titled “The Philosophy of ______” or “A Philosophy of ______.”

When I first read the prompt, I thought of writing something lighthearted and funny. The title “The Philosophy of Dogs” came to mind, but that’s as far as I got with that idea. I remembered that Bjorn once commented on one of my poems that my writing is better when I write from the heart. Although I do love dogs, and mine in particular, what is really on my heart these days is something much more serious. And so this poem was conceived.

The Philosophy of Choice

The philosophy of choice says
that the convenience of one life
is equally as important as
the continued existence of another

I once bought into this philosophy
and  I chose convenience
I had my whole life ahead of me
my college plans, my career, my life

And so I chose my convenience
and her death

I thought I was justified because
the conception was not my choice
It was forced upon me and so
I shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced
by this life I didn’t want

It was supposed to be so simple, so easy
but no one told me about the regret
the shame and the anguish that would come
that would inconveniently lead to depression
stealing seven years of my life
coloring every day thereafter

The tears I’ve cried over that one choice
would drown a small army of giants
Perhaps I had to cry every tear
she never got the chance to cry

The time for choosing is long past
But if I had it to do over again
I would choose my inconvenience
and her life

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Monsoon of Mercy

At dVerse Poets Pub today, Abhra tells a tale of the monsoon season in India. The “prompt” for the day is fairly vague, so I drew from Abhra’s story about how the hot, dry summer is followed by the monsoon. And I tapped into the discussion in the comments to Anthony’s post Pub Talk: Poetry and Making a Difference. I’ve written this as a Kyrielle because I’m finding a like this form a lot. It has just enough repetition to suit me.

Monsoon of Mercy

Sin and shame deeply scorch my soul
Freedom from consequence my goal
But my choice left me dry, not whole
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy

She was the victim of my choice
Never will I hear her small voice
Yet in His arms she can rejoice
Healed by His monsoon of mercy

Now there is no condemnation
Only grace for Your creation
Regret remains a grave fixation
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy

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Slips Away

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister Peggy lately, perhaps because her death is the subject of the first chapter of the book I’m working on. Yesterday the refrain for this Kyrielle came to me and then I finished the poem this morning.

Slips Away

Quiet descends on deep darkness
My soul housed in this jar of clay
Groans bitterly in God’s winepress
Her soul slips silently away

Regrets of wasted time oppress
Why did I wait another day
I am here now nevertheless
Her soul slips silently away

Over memories I obsess
Jesus come save her soul I pray
His peace descends on me to bless
Her soul slips silently away

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Nothing to Fear

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself

and bears if you’re in Yellowstone
loneliness if you’re all alone

failure if your theory is flawed
sickness and death if you don’t know God

Yet if God is on your side
there’s nothing to fear
just trust and abide

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You Can’t Go Back to Tuesday

I’m working on my book proposal today. I posted the draft Prologue last week. I’m determined to finish the proposal this week so an editor friend can review it before I submit it to the publishing house editor who requested it at the Faith & Culture Writers Conference. I had a breakthrough this week when I realized the Chapter 1 I’d drafted started in the wrong place. This is the beginning of the new Chapter 1.

I’m planning to include a poem on the title page of each chapter. The poem for this chapter is one I wrote a week after the events recounted here.

You Can’t Go Back to Tuesday

Last Breath

Breathing
in, out again
no other sound so dear
except if you spoke, one more time,
I’d hear.

I sat in that suffocating little room with my sister Suz, my brother-in-law Dick, and the shell of my sister Peggy. When I had arrived earlier in the day I wouldn’t have known it was her in the bed if Suz hadn’t also been there. I hadn’t seen Dick in 28 years; he’d changed, kind of looked like Grizzly Adams after a month in the woods alone.

And Peggy, she didn’t look like anyone I knew. The last time I’d seen her she didn’t look too bad. She admitted the cancer was back, but she covered up how bad it was pretty well. And she had been hopeful, ready to fight and win again. But she wasn’t going to win this time—she would breathe her last in that tiny, sterile room with just the three of us there.

I’d woken up that morning with plans to go to the dentist in the morning—even though I was dreading it—and then in for my annual mammogram and breast MRI. On Friday I was going to go visit Peggy in the hospital. I was told she’d probably be feeling better by then.

But Suz called early that morning and said Peggy had taken a turn for the worse. “You should come as soon as you can. Dick said she was pretty bad.”

I called my cousin Noryce to tell her what was going on with Peggy and to just talk. Noryce always has good advice and knows just what to say.

“I don’t know what to do. I have these two appointments I have to keep, but I want to go see Peggy. Maybe I can just wait until tomorrow to go,” I said. “I should have just gone to see her on Tuesday.”

Noryce, in her infinite wisdom, replies, “You can’t go back to Tuesday. What are you going to do today? What’s the worst that could happen if you cancel your appointments and go? What if you wait to go until tomorrow and she’s already gone?”

She knows the story of when my dad died and I wasn’t there. He had called me and said, “Come see me.” But it cost money to fly to Desert Hot Springs where he was and we didn’t have a lot of money at the time. So I bought an inexpensive ticket for two weeks out. He died a week later. I will always regret that decision.

So I called the dentist to cancel my appointment, worried that they would be upset and charge me for the appointment anyway. “Don’t worry about it. Go see your sister. Give us a call when you’re ready to reschedule.”

Then I called the hospital to cancel my mammogram and breast MRI. They were even more understanding given that my sister was dying of breast cancer. I don’t know why I was afraid they wouldn’t be.

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Nepal

The Day 27 prompt at the NaPoWriMo site is to write a hay(na)ku, another short form poem I’ve never heard of. But I do love short form poetry, especially in the final days of a 30-day poetry challenge. Here’s my timely poem, a hay(na)ku time seven.

Nepal

Pray
for Nepal
earth is quaking

Pray
for Nepal
dead and dying

Pray
for Nepal
temples all destroyed

Pray
for Nepal
may heaven rescue

Pray
for Nepal
send aid workers

Pray
for Nepal
hearts are broken

Pray
for Nepal
may God rebuild

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When I Fly

The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Breaking and Entering calls for writing a poem to a set form, but then breaking it just a little and making it your own. I started with the Rondeau, first finding a list of potential rhyming words. Then my thoughts went in a potentially morbid direction—to death—but as always I found the hope therein. I tweaked the form by adding to the final line and not concerning myself with the meter requirements (which is always the hardest part of form poetry for me).

When I Fly

When I die, away I’ll fly
Up into the deep blue sky
This hopeful journey I will not fear
Though I know you’ll miss me dear
When it’s time to say good-bye

Please don’t worry or cry
Let our Savior dry your eye
Please don’t shed a single tear
When I die

If deep spiritual truth you spy
You’ll know your time will once be nigh
Hope will make the journey clear
Though I know you’ll miss me dear
Yet when you die, away you’ll fly
We’ll still be together when we die

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Irony – An Elfje

Rugged
the cross
instrument of death
brought me eternal life
irony

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Last Breath – A Cinquain

Breathing
in, out again
no other sound so dear
except if you spoke, one more time,
I’d hear.

I wrote this cinquain for dVerse Poets Pubs FormForAll. It is my attempt to capture my experience of Thursday last week as I sat in my sister’s hospital room, praying she had it in her to keep fighting cancer, but knowing she did not.

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All Things Are Possible – A Poem

Sadness and joy
are hard to hold
at the same time

Mourning death
and celebrating life
in the same moment
is impossible for me

But with God
all things are possible

I’m still feeling sad over the death of my sister, but tomorrow is my son’s 18th birthday. Talking to a good friend about this yesterday she made the comment that sadness and joy are hard to hold together. She’s right.

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