Image courtesy of Simon Matzinger, Unsplash

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


Depending on where in the world you live, it’s already Wednesday. Here in Northern California it’s still Tuesday, though a late hour for this weekly post, an indication of the weight of the day’s deadlines and editorial responsibilities. Here now are poems that face the reality of living with dying, as we all ultimately do. These poems were inspired or shared in response to the last poem and prompt, Almost Time, May 6. Enjoy the lyric wisdom of mm brazfield, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Tamam Tracy Moncur, Nancy Ndeke, Clarissa Simmens, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets.


my trip with Azrael

you know the time is nigh
you won’t need anything
would you agree
yes i’m prepared
while we travel can i tell you
how i loved the cool walks
the strong espressos and
the smell of fresh baked croissants over at Figaros
and when i was young
i loved the life that was
fast hard strong and brutal
was that when you felt invincible
Azrael asked
i suppose i didnt really feel anything
can i tell you about all of the beautiful people
dressed in all the colors and walk
step by step
and the children
they the true celestial thousand points of light multiply in God’s eyes forever
did you incur any regrets after all you’re just a human Azrael reminded
time lost revelling in my hatred and my pain first of self then of my nature of my sins and my enemies my inability for many years to feel with all of me
and seeing that i was about to cry Azrael lifted me with warmth and ease as my last breath sweet with smells of incense drew from me a soul unique and we clasp hands into the light of eternity

© 2020, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken, Gen X’r chronicles the art from of living in the Angelino metropolitan environment through poetry, creative writing, art, photography, and culture


Death-Mediocrity is Everywhere

Dedicated to Mary Oliver

Life moves in time in moment sublime
in moments painful in moments divine

life begins so joyfully with smiles yet
ends cuttingly, bodies scatter for miles

a month of obligation abstinence patience
teaches lessons of resilient tolerance

end a celebration a gratitude for completion
festive for some for some fatal cremation

horrible terrible killing fear murder cruelty
enemy advances ending lives brutally

Death Death Death all around ,will come
If it be not now, yet it will, for sure, come’

when the hearts bleed beat slowly slowly
when kids are burning dying, what is Holy?

what festivity what feast what happiness
what is Eid ~ what is care for family ?

a moment joyful reveals life is temporary
next, we should know heaven and eternity

Ah how truly said the great romantic poet
‘ In the very temple of delight resides veiled melancholy’

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

And When Death Comes

And when it comes
I will meet the Angel and smile
and say ‘you came before, lifted me,
quietly, I felt the pull,

I saw my self flying straight up high
it was so swift, in flight a few seconds
and as I looked down- I trembled-

‘oh where are you taking me?
my children are so young
and my parents are in later age
they need me too, see,they are alone,

And Oh Angel you were so kind
You let me go’
You had permission to do that
and I heard you say something’ ?

Now if I have been good
have looked after my parents
and have guided my children,
on the straight path,

I hope and pray that
my way, will be illumined
each day of life ,scented,
colorful like daisies and pansies,

life will begin afresh, pure, peaceful
as the Almighty is Gracious and Merciful
“I am precious to The Earth’,
I need not be frightened’and definitely
not as simply having visited this world’

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


Surrender

I will stare into your eyes
As the poison drips into my arms
And laugh when I tuck plane tickets
To Europe in my suitcase

I will make faces at you
As I lay on the operating table
And laugh when my shirts are looser
And I see how much weight I’ve lost

I will flip you the finger
As I’m holding my kids
Celebrating graduations and birthdays
And even just regular days

I will slap you as you try to steal
The warmth of my blankets
And the heat of my lover
Wrapped in promises of forever and never

Yet when the time comes
And I know the difference between beignet and brioche
And I’m down to my high school weight
And the kids have gone back to their full lives
And my lover has fallen asleep on the couch

I will look you in the eyes
And smile sweetly
As I beckon you to me
And lay my head on your shoulder
Holding tightly
As you carry me across the threshold

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . . . 


.prompt.

yes i think of you fondly

all of you gone this while

we continue thankful in that we knew you

a while

while

feeling fortunate

in that we have been here a while during the good bits,

learning from the other bits

there are a few of you in the garden while others are

elsewhere

some too far to visit

with one down the lane

handy

i keep that tidy & maybe the gardener is now unecessary

i will not attach photos

i see you all in mind

& i thank you

my life continues

& i thank you

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Looking Back
Standing at the threshold suspended between life and death doing my best to capture the fleeting images flashing before my face in this race which for me is about to be over…gone forevermore…never to be again.

Early childhood memories in Berkeley, CA. Harmon Street to be exact…my grandmother pouring out buttermilk from a jug just for us to go with our lunch…ugh…yuck. Delicious pies cooling in the window overlook the yard as chickens peck at the dirt unaware of their fate.

A middle schooler headed to Camp Timbertall totally enthralled by the Redwood trees…trunks a mahogany red stretching high into the sky…up…up… up…green leaves ballooning atop the elongated trunk declaring summer fun has arrived in all its anticipation and expectations.

Piano lessons from age six…scales…arpeggios mixed with the classical…playing in the Jr. Bach festival…brother the boogie woogie king of the neighborhood…always some good piano music swinging with singing having fun ‘til the day was almost done.

High school graduation…civil rights demonstrations…relocation to the east coast…falling in love with New York City…Harlem nights, jazz, poetry…meeting the man who was to become my husband…trombonist…composer deep-rooted in the avant-garde revolutionary music.

Marriage vows…jumping the broom in a small room in front of a self-avowed minister declaring “until death do us part”…days and nights filled with wine, filled with art…then suddenly burnt out…new start…change of heart…God becomes my all in all.

Newark, NJ… our new home…my husband’s home town…going back to school…six children…the absolute rule for three decades wading through the deep waters of raising children…music education/ elementary ed certification…teaching is now my life.

Diary of an Inner City Teacher, my story about the glory, the good, the challenges in the honorable profession of teaching…reaching out to, and understanding students regardless of learning styles…regardless of emotions, just learning to go that extra mile for each and every child.

Fifteen hour flight to Johannesburg South Africa…a trip home to my ancestral land…Africa the motherland…family and cultural ties severed by slavery but reconnected through the church to the drumbeat of my soul to a whole nother aspect of my being.

Images have been captured…will I be raptured? My breathing now labored…my vision blurry….although very cloudy I feel a hand enclose mine…a voice in the distance says “it’s your time”…the melodic sound of voices draw me into the realm of absolute silence.

© 2020, Tamam Tracy Moncur

Tracy’s book is Diary of an Inner City Teacher, a probe into the reality of teaching in our inner city school systems as seen from the front line.


AT THIS MOMENT,
Reaching out to my transport yonder, seconds reel to hug thoughts, one more time,
The flood of joy of creations gift in a child, O what a miracle!
Seeing the innocence and trust as only Heaven must know,
That first cry announcing birth, what mystery!

Reaching out to my transport yonder, seconds play an old tune,
Mother’s gentle hand massaging away a dreary fever, while,
Father held heaven to a session of hope for the child,
The bliss of safety anchored in the pillars of parentage,
Knowing for sure nothing would be spared for my sake.

Reaching out for my transport yonder, seconds rushing to close my eyes,
Deep heaves over that sorry never given, and silence when speech would suffice,
Pride of anger and bastard hoarding of hurts so useless,
Time fleeting and I so sad,
That when chance availed itself,
I now leave without embracing the fulnes in the beauty of peace,
One that comes from full acknowledgement,
Of the frailty of not letting go when time allowed.

Reaching out for my transport yonder,
Time closes the divide and erects a wall
I look at the agony of love and know nothing matters than love,
And though tears are beyond recall of my journey,
These hurriedly scribbled words should alert you of your time.
Nothing matters in matters of life but goodwill, love and care for those in need,
For as I soar away from what held me captive,
I bid you do good for it’s sake,
To beat the vanity that I now know to be,
As my last breath expires and material drops to dust.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE


***(With its death)

With its death
the day gilds
the leaves.
I do not know the names of
the tree
and it doesn’t matter for
beauty.

© 2020, Bozhidar Pengelov, a.k.a. Bogpan

Bozhidar’s site is: bogpan – блог за авторска поезия, блог за авторска поезия 


Constituents 

Seventy-two
Nothing new
Except the feeling
The feeling of time
Taking a turn for the worse
Can’t think about loved ones
No contest
Will miss them most
Who
Or what
Will I also cry for?
Surrounded by Elements
Of beauty and truth
Solid Earth
Birthing botanicals
And crystals
The poor person’s diamonds
Liquid Water
Amniotic life
Cool as rain
Hot as unwanted pain
Mixed Gas, creator of Air
Softly blowing my hair
And the Plasma of life’s Fire
Burning passionately
From this love affair with Life
Thought I’d see you all
Forever etched in the gray matter
But that, too, will be Dead
There, I said it: Dead
It hurts to know
That although
Thought I’d touch you forever
Smell you
Taste you eternally
See your beauty
While hearing your music
That music of the universe
In my 3-beat heart
I so thought it would never stop
But no
How can I go on
Without the Elemental Beauty
Of Life…?

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens

Clarissa’s site is: Poeturja, Poetry


Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe

Last week was speckled with
Kardashians and stock markets and
crude internet memes, yet now
the nuclear annihilation
my father once foresaw has
spontaneously spread
from an unexpected pocket of the planet,
labeling nearly all life with a
pressing expiry date.

Back during Dorito-and-Aqua Net-stained
marathon phone sessions
in the safe, dark coolness of the sofa in the basement,
my high school crony Ron revealed that, if
a mushroom cloud ever bloomed nearby, he’d
survey the display with his dad on the porch.
Deprived of that option, I merely
remember my parents,
probably praying and mouthing Isaiah 41:10
in a tearful huddle with my brother’s brood,
and spark a last DuMaurier Ultra Light
(a shared tobacco habit
being one of our few common features)
despite having quit because it’s more soothing
than the scarier smoke I’ll be
choking through soon.

If my hammering heart doesn’t halt from horror and
anger, my vital organs will be envenomed by
other people’s politics and pride, and I’ll never again
hear Dusty Springfield’s vulnerable voice
wailing about “Your Hurtin’ Kind of Love” over swirling strings
while I spin in time to the vinyl in exhilarating circles
between the cuckoo clock and the iced chai latte with oat milk
that’ll spoil, unsipped.
Summer sunlight shimmers, and I’m missing rain, spitting
against my shaved head and naked arms or
on my window as I nestle into freshly-washed pillowcases,
not unlike the rushing veil of water on that morning
in Moncton when my buddy with the scratchy beard and pirate eyes and I
showered together.

I drop-kick my laptop off the balcony because
there’s no point in completing that
tedious editing job to pay rent rendered needless
since death is at least free for the corpse, and,
over the chaos and crying and swearing and shooting,
an unseen beak trills in a soprano, competing with
those sirens savaging my eardrums.
I press Natasha against my chest,
not far from armpits
permeated with perspiration;
I need to protect her, even if
the gesture is a sham for show, and
her heat is what I wish to feel before
meeting my peace-loving Mennonite ancestors
who’ll say, “we told you so.”

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker


Final Interpretation of Silence

Raanana, August 10, 2018

Today Death touched my friend’s lips
With her icy finger and silenced them,
Enfolding him in her long dark robes
And carrying him against her cold breast.
Across the wide sea, I stand alone now
Unable to cobble together a few words
To measure the greatness of my friend.
He called himself a wordsmith
But I called him a poet.
He knew the names of every flower,
Every bird and every cloud.
He could paint a picture in your mind
So detailed you’d swear you’d been there,
And if you called yourself a poet too,
You’d have died to write like him.
What a eulogy of himself he could have given
If Death had not taken away his breath first,
Now silence must be his eulogy
With nobody left to interpret it.

from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2018, Mike Stone 

I’ve Seen Death Come

Raanana, June 4, 2018

I’ve seen death come for some
But not for others.
I’ve seen it drag souls from those they loved
And seen souls pull death’s slippery robes
Begging to be taken with it
Wherever it may go.
I’ve seen death sit patiently by a bedside,
Waiting for some soul to ask to be released,
And seen it rescue others
From the fear or pain of dying,
A thousand times worse than death, once come.
What else can be said of death?
That it’s unknown until it comes
And once it comes,
There’s no time left for wisdom’s gain.

from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2018, Mike Stone 

Zen and the Art of Dying

Raanana, December 23, 2017

Death, after a full life, is not so fearsome.
It’s like a kind of meditation,
A relaxation from the tensions of living and dying,
A clarity that sees illusions, but also through them,
A detachment from pain and desire
In which the subject and object disappear together
And all that is left is invisible and silent.
Death is not a thing that stalks you,
That finds you where you hide,
It’s not a thing you can hold in your hand,
Thumbs up or thumbs down,
But the end of a life that never was forever,
That proffers bitter-sweet meaning
To those who accept it
On its threshold.

from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2017, Mike Stone

The Hermit and the Cabin

My poor soul, bless its,
Well, you know what I mean,
Would soar like an eagle over dappled valleys
Dragging my body along with it if it could
But it has grown accustomed to the weight
And cumbersomeness of my body
Like a hermit grows accustomed to his cabin
Of rough-hewn logs and thatched twig roof
Lost in a wilderness of loveliness and terror.
The cabin protects it in a small way
From the vicissitudes of a heart’s seasons
And the uncertainties of our knowing,
But eventually the weeds send their tendrils
Through the chinks between the logs
At first admitting welcome daylight
But then unwelcome cold and finally
Strangling the logs with their slow sure strength
Until the hermit is forced to leave the cabin
Looking for another not too overgrown or exposed.
The old cabin will miss its hermit
Until the last log falls to ground
And the roof lies unthatched among the weeds, but
What cares the hermit for the cabin
Or the soul for its earthly body?

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2019,  Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry. It and other books of poetry and of science fiction by Mike are available from Amazon all over the world. Mike’s U.S. Amazon Page is HERE.


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