“It is best as one grows older to strip oneself of possessions, to shed oneself downward like a tree, to be almost wholly earth before one dies.”
On May 28, 2014 our Group for people with life-threatening illnesses celebrated the lives of those who have already passed on. I was unable to attend the memorial service due to bronchitis, but I celebrated all those people and two of my family with the poem I share below.
Our Group is comprised of people from several different religious traditions and is hosted by our local Insight Meditation Center. The Group was founded and is run by a Buddhist chaplain who has been very kind and is a constant friend to each of us.
Though I continue to follow the progress of friends and occasionally attend our quarterly potlucks, I no longer participate in meetings. By some surely unearned grace, I am still here enjoying my family and friends. I’ve grown to the point that the news of death no longer disturbs me. The major take-away for me from this experience is that the only difference between having a medically predicted expiration date and not knowing when our moment will come is that with a diagnosis, we no longer fall into denial. That’s a huge gift. Huge! The result is that we become present in each moment.
In sharing this poem here today, I again lovingly celebrate: Ann, Deborah, Dick, Ernie, Hilda, Mary, Parvathy, Robert, Mary Kate, Steve, Steven, and Victor from Group and family lost in recent years are my former husband Kirby, the most decent man I’ve ever known, and my cousin Christopher with whom I grew-up, a gentle intelligent soul and like a brother to me.
Each moment and every person is precious and beautiful and the only thing that really matters is how much we have loved and been loved and that – as survivors – we continue to do what we’re able in the service of our families and those in need. In the end it would seem that’s the best way to honor those whose memory we treasure.
Eternity flowed deftly through the last eight years
enfolding in her stream the many with whom we
contemplated Knowledge and Mortality
Looking back, we ponder amazed at love among friends,
……….it blossoms fragrant, as gentle
……….as a dewy rose among thorns and thistles
We thrash and crawl and climb
………puzzling over the sea and fire that stalks us
Our hearts, cupped in one another’s hands
……….like castanets, beat in unison
Our measured moments grave lines in phantom fears,
……….they float like storm clouds above us
In words of jade, we speak elegies and encomiums
Our smiles mask our sorrows and yearning
Our laughter is love grown wild
We see each other in a thousand shapes and dreams
……….and in nameless faces
Our sighs ride the ebb tides of Eternity
…..and even the sun will die
…..but our lotus song will echo on ….
……….We have lived! We have loved!
© 2014, words and photograph, Jamie Dedes
WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT
When it all shakes out, when we contemplate the impermanence of our bodies, what matters most to you? What gives this physical life on Earth its meaning? What makes living worthwhile?
Share your poem/s on theme or a link to it/them in the comments section below.
All poems on theme will be published next Tuesday. Please do NOT email your poem to me or leave it on Facebook. If you do it’s likely I’ll miss it or not see it in time.
IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These will be partnered with your poem/s on first publication.
PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.
Deadline: Monday, September 10 by 8 p.m. Pacific.
Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro. It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning nonjudgemental place to connect.
Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded. I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.
My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, Second Light, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.