Riding the Ebb-tides of Eternity, a poem . . . and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

 

 

“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.” Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes or the Loving Huntsman [recommended]



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
…..Another moment:
…..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 thepoetbyday@gmail.com 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.


ABOUT

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 PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

 

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15 thoughts on “Riding the Ebb-tides of Eternity, a poem . . . and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Quietus

    On this dew soaked morning
    gentle sunlight streams between
    the dampened boughs of an awakened day.

    I think of you and of me
    and of the many misted mornings
    we laughed and whispered
    until we had to part for a time.

    Afternoon and evening sped by
    but morning always lingered.

    We moved at the pace of sleep
    slow and without effort
    to prepare the day for ourselves
    while hustle and bustle and rush and whim
    scurried and fretted about us.

    Hidden smiles and secret plots contrived in haste
    deals brokered in the light of the rising sun
    conspiracies bound in blood and love
    carried us through the day apart
    the time of our unknowing.

    Always when evening came
    separated paths joined once more
    promises of morning were fulfilled
    in the drifting dusk.

    As this morning of our lives lingers
    I sit share laugh cry
    etch upon my heart this memory
    of hidden smiles and secret plots.

    We have not changed
    You and I remain bound in blood and love
    we have not changed.

    Morning ends as it always does
    you on your path and I on mine
    frightened to be alone.

    We now step into the time of our unknowing
    confident that when evening falls
    the other will await.

    http://jmwardell.com/blog/quietus/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your thoughts on the loss of friends and family, Jamie; honouring them with our every day actions; on the shedding of possessions, which we are doing, bit by bit. Your poem is just gorgeous. It oozes sheer poetic quality; of expressing the almost inexpressible.

    It is fortuitously timely. Today we will attend the funeral of a friend, who was a pagan, a poet and who died very and I mean very suddenly and unexpectedly; more suddenly than I’ve ever known. We should as much as we can be prepared for the unexpected and, as you say, live every day in the moment.

    Like

  3. Supernatural Senses

    How do I look at my own demise?
    It’s not a surprise because the one thing we all know
    Is that one day we too shall die
    We will pass from this plane into eternity.
    At 73 many people close to me have made
    This transition in creation to another place in space.
    Twice in my dreams two of my loved ones have appeared
    at different times in my life
    To free me from fear and doubt
    First my grandmother and then years later my son
    Each came during a time of hurt
    Each came during a time of spiritual pain
    Each came during a time of emotional distress
    My grandmother and my son
    They made that journey from the world beyond
    to give me a supernatural hug
    A magical hug
    A mystical hug
    A hug that enveloped me in God’s love
    A hug of reassurance strengthening my mind
    And my endurance to always walk in faith
    Until my ultimate release into peace comes.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. ‘smiley smiley’
    monkeys smile

    as can we, yet i guess
    a duck can’t smile, ian.

    can snails smile, i know
    i smile a lot, learned it
    at dance class, whatever
    happens, keep it up.

    continues now, at work,
    they say it cheers you up,
    makes your cheeks hurt,
    sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Four Disagreements

    The first postcard from hell said, “Don’t you get sick of being honest all the time? Everyone is always checking and making sure. Why not give them something to surprise them?” So I allowed jewels to fall from my mouth along with my impeccable word and flowers and once in a while bolts and washers with no nuts. Everyone was continually surprised.

    The second postcard from hell told me I could relax, slough off my usual care and meaningful intention. “It’s so hard when you’re always trying to do your best, isn’t it? You deserve a break!” So I collected up a million of my favorite human beings and tooks us all to a resort where we relaxed in hammocks and beach chairs. All of our beverages included blossoms and little umbrellas. We napped.

    The third postcard from hell was direct but a bit strained: “Some of these people? The ones with you at the resort? They look funny or smell funny or eat weird foods or speak funny languages! They don’t match you. Who knows who is lurking in there?” So I walked among those million people, talking, laughing, singing with them, sharing meals, until we all found something in common, like the color of our socks.

    The million human beings had to go back to schools, jobs, homes, so I read the fourth postcard from hell all alone sitting in a broken beach chair. “Ha! They left you! Loser! They don’t like you! Go eat worms!” So I invented a machine to rearrange the grains of sand on the beach to send messages to the stars. The message I sent was:
    L O V E

    Liked by 2 people

  6. tsftpot

    teapots and tempests
    some crafted some not
    tosspots and destinies
    often are wrought
    if you behold
    you’re beholden eh wot
    but
    cast
    away rules
    and then blossom some more
    doorways to wayfaring ferret
    glissandos
    chandelier faceting
    billboardish asseting
    heat-rubbled smoke
    the rising signal
    A hell it made
    not merely of manglecrush forms
    but of the simmering magma
    of hatred

    the bombs we make we
    lob into crowds
    and they unmake
    and we know it is wrong
    but it is again a signal
    that we are lost

    but some of us love
    some see seedlings
    and keep them for spring

    and some beyond us
    save all endeavor

    a tempest is not endeavor
    a teapot is endeavor
    thought is endeavor
    some thought is divine

    and tsftpot
    stands for
    the society
    for the preservation
    of thought

    oral tradition
    was its larva
    movable type its nymph
    and eons hence
    its adult form
    will be the very texture
    of reality

    stars do not die
    they become something else
    as will you
    as will i

    Liked by 2 people

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