“the grandmother stone” and “Back from the Brink” . . . and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

“I really should talk to him. He’s had a near-death experience!”

“We all have. It’s called living.”

TerryPratchett (1948-1915) English writer of fantasy and comical works

the grandmother stone

at the medical center you put your ear
to the trunk of a birch and listened to my heart
while i roasted potatoes in a snowed-under parking lot
and managed the effects of a shrinking brain

when i heard the door to the crematorium slam shut,
i found myself floating on waves of heat that flayed my skin,
mom held me in mourning and sang Salve Regina
(she was slightly off-key)
but i found the grandmother stone you left in my hand
it pulled me back to the earth and the snow

i heard you say you savored the taste of my blood
in the kalamata olives you ate the day i died
i listened to doves cooing and watched the wind
wrap silver filigree around tree branches

the morning was crisp and fresh
the others came to say goodbye, arms full of flowers
but your arms were empty and heavy with love
i decided to live

© 2017, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Back from the Brink

The road to the hospital lies under the weight of fog.
Perhaps that’s as it should be, all things considered.

I’m tempted to fuss with speculations and simile,
though it might be unwise, maybe even unkind,
to say that road is like a passage leading to salvation,
the undoing of cardiac arrest, then I’d have to
knock on wood in my mother’s way, not to jinx it,
not to jinx raising Lazarus from his hospital bed –
The quality of resuscitation is the quality of a mercy,
which might not show itself this day, so we pray.

We wonder, does consciousness survive brain death?
Will he come back from over the brink like a drunk
from a binge, ready to swear-off his bad habits,
suddenly enamored of Christ, whom he’d forsaken?
Will he change from his tech job to a confession
of sins and martyr himself in social services ~
a nouveau-saint of the died-and-came-back genus,
kin to those other types of marketers, not to be rude…

But it is a stretch, though I’d be happy if he survives
and over-brims more Light into our darkness. Amen.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


Ascent of the Blessed by Hieronymus Bosch is associated by some NDE researchers with aspects of the NDE. public domain illustration

Near Death Experience (NDE): We hear a lot about them these days. For the most part, the experiences reported appear to be consistent with the culture/religion of the person reporting. There are many differing opinions on the validity of the experience and more than a few studies. Tell us about your views, experience/s, observations.

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, October 1 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 PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.