800px-Big_Sur_Coast_California…….For Ann who died a year ago of a rare cancer of the bone

we scattered your relics, charred bone
blithe spirit, to be rocked by waves,
to be rocked into yourself, the rhythm
enchanting you with sapphire spume,
sighs merging your poetry with the ether,
rending our hearts of their shivered memories,
shattering the ocean floor with your dreams
lost in lapping lazuli tides, dependable ~
relief perhaps after pain-swollen years of
suckle on the shards of a capricious grace

those last weeks …
your restless sleeps disrupted by
medical monitors, their metallic pings
not unlike meditation bells calling to you,
bringing you to presence and contemplation,
while bags hung as prayer-flags on a zephyr,
fusing blood, salt, water
into collapsing veins, bleeding-out
under skin, yellowing and puce-stained,
fetid air filled, we came not with chant,
but the breath of love, we tumbled in
one-by-one to stand by you

to stand by you
when death arrived

and it arrived in sound, not in stealth,
broadcasting its jaundiced entrance
i am here, death bellowed on morphine
in slow drip, i am here death shouted,
offering tape to secure tubing, handing
you a standard-issue gown, oversized –
in washed-out blue, for your last journey
under the cold pale of fluorescent light

far from the evergreen life of your redwood forest,
eager and greedy, death snatched
your jazzy PJs, your bling and pedicures,
your journals and pens, your computer and
cat, death tried your dignity and identity
not quickly, no … in a tedious hospital bed,
extending torment, its rough tongue salting
your wounds, death’s hungering, a hunger
for bones, your frail white bones –
but you, in your last exercise of will, thwarted death,
bequeathing your bones to the living sea

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved * Photo ~ Big Sur in Central California looking south near the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park by Joseph Plotz under CC A-SA 3.0 unported license

TODAY IS WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY, a writing prompt we host each month with The Bardo Group. The prompt is facilitated on the Bardo blog by Victoria C. Slotto, writer and poet. This month the challenge is to write in second person. We invite you to link your own work to Victoria’s post. We’ll both visit and comment and we encourage you to visit one another to read, comment and encourage.

PROBLEMS WITH WORDPRESS: If you find – as a number of us have – that it has become frustrating to post poetry on WordPress, please let WordPress know.We are suddenly having issues with layout. The poems collapse into prose format and paragraphs in the prose portions merge into one another. Do blog and tweet about the issues and contact WordPress at Thank you!


24 thoughts on “FOR WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY: A Hunger for Bone

  1. Well, your poem was definitely successful, as I sit here with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I had not read the original, but I think the second person write really brings it home. As always, you never fail to bring us to the exact time and place with your poetic imagery and descriptions. It’s hard to get used to it, even if you witness it many times, each death is different. It can be really rough to get to the point of accepting it as just another part of the cycle, especially when the memories are so clear. Thank you for a very touching, moving poem, Jamie. I kind of feel like I got a glimpse of the amazing woman she must have been.


    1. Corina, I am touched by your response. And yes. Ann was treasured by eveyone who knew her and those of us who connected with her in our group for people with life-threatening illnesses were graced to know her special kind of courage.


    1. Thanks! It’s been a difficult and complicated move, but I should be able to put closure on it by the end of this week. My window overlooks a Japanese Tea Garden. Sheer delight! 🙂 I can’t wait for duckling season. My camera and pen are at the ready.


      1. How wonderful is that! I will have to be moving sometime in the near future, myself, as my partner still has no job and we need to sell the house and downsize alot. I am hoping, perhaps, to rent a small house with a small yard for my dog…and no more stairs. I haven’t written much lately as work is still very tiring so am pacing myself. I will try to work 2 more years and retire with 18. I don’t think I can do more than that. Do take care, my friend.


  2. Passion and compassion showing heart and soul of someone that was well loved. I am never short of amazed by your writing. Hope you are doing alright in my brother’s beloved San Francisco. Take care. 🙂


    1. Thank you, Renee. You comments are always kinder than I deserve. I hope life is treating you and yours well these days and I hope you enjoy National Poetry Month.

      In metta,


      1. I think my comments are well placed and I also have felt your comments are more than kind. Perhaps next year I can do the poetry month myself when things are less tiring. May Angels surround you. Renee


  3. Thanks for sharing this touching tribute, Jamie. I believe I saw it before (maybe wrong) but the second person really brings it home.) I don’t know if you had to reworked the poetry part of Bardo…but thank you It’s crazy. Will send a pointed e-mail soon. Have my little JRT in a lot of pain–she has back problems, so we’re off to the vets. Will catch up as soon as I can.


    1. Yes! I did write this when Ann died and it was read at her memorial service. About a month ago I rewrote it “to” her rather than “about” her and published about two weeks ago on Bardo. Given the constraints on my time right now, I was lucky that it matched your prompt. I don’t think I’ve done much in second person since I stopped writing columns years ago. Hope the pup is well. Thanks for your post and visit and comment. Later … 🙂


  4. This is a stunning poem. It’s just beautiful and poignant, paints a sadly well-known scene in original and very poignant ways. The mixture of the hospital and meditation hall especially striking. Thanks. Well done. I think WP has changed settings to deal differently with soft and hard returns and that you have to paste things on in a special text way or use a hard return when typing instead of a soft return. It may also make a difference if you are using safari or Mozilla or a mobile device. The app may work better_ k.


    1. Thank you, K.

      I think you’re right; but, I posted everything in text and had to do it several times before it stayed put. Yikes! 🙂 Hope today finds you well. I’ll be done with my move in another week or so and will get to return visits. Take care, k.


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