"Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness."
Khalil Gibran

Thursday, July 13, 2017

News of My Demise

Because I could not stop for Death -
He kindly stopped for me -
Emily Dickinson


By the Deathbed Fever
Edvard Munch (1893)


Everyone wanted in on my death –
those I used to call my friends
and strangers in the street
even my dentist said this is a small town.

How they crowded around my bed –
bringing grapes and chocolates
eager for a sight of blood
to be first with the news of my demise.

As for me, I just lay there under the sheet –
wondering how long this would take
hugging my body goodbye
apologizing for the inconvenience of my departure.


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Fireblossom Friday: Bang, You're Dead

36 comments:

  1. Oh this hits home with me... I have always felt a discomfort with funerals, how people can start to care (or maybe gloat) when it means so much more to say it when you are alive. I remember my father had left instructions on who not to invite to his funeral... I love the Munch painting.

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    1. The Munch painting comes closest to my recent experience in hospital. It was strange to me how many visitors I had from people who do not visit me at home. But all were very supportive, so I was not ungrateful.. just bemused by their interest.

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  2. Hey Kerry, this is just wonderful. Very clever, mordant, funny and sad both. The first stanza just quite funny, the end--the lone person hugging her body and still rather sheepish, though alone--very poignant. Really enjoyed. k.

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    1. ps - love the grapes. And the Munch!

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    2. Thanks, Karin. Inasmuch as there is always something funny in human behaviour, sometimes it strikes me as odd, this attraction to sick beds.

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  3. This kinda cuts and then allows something not so pleasant to seep into the wound afterwards.There is a sadness underneath but at the same time a mild annoyance. Fabulous write.

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    1. I guess one never expects to be the one lying in the bed.

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  4. I genuinely love this. They do come, I call them the watchers, they look underneath the blankets to see what is left of you...like picking over old bones...

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    1. The 'watchers' is a perfect description. Thank you.

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  5. Like Bjorn this resonates strongly with me.. there is an underlying hint of sadness and relief in your final stanza.. and yes I too can relate to the feeling of people watching what's left of us. Powerfully penned.

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    1. I cannot venture out to the store without someone stopping me to ask me why I am still alive. Haha. (Not quite but almost.)

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  6. I suppose those 'watchers' come primarily to be thankful it wasn't them quite unaware that you are sensing their feelings, looking for their tears and seeing how long they stay before they must back to life and put you out of their mind! What a beautiful picture you painted here Kerry.

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    1. Thanks, Jim. We all have reason to be fascinated with death.

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  7. As a hospice worker, I have often wondered how the dying person can handle, having little choice, all the people coming and going in the house, once their sanctuary. It must be very hard.

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    1. Yes, very hard indeed. Dying is something one does not necessarily want to share but people do mean well.

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  8. Watching my mother die...I was careful and kept prying eyes away knowing how she felt about watchers and funerals and such like. I can definitely relate to this poem.

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    1. Let dignity be the last thing to pass.

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  9. I'm sorry. I found this a bit humorous. (but in good taste)

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  10. Story of my friend, Kerry. I enjoyed reading it. My friend had a gathering of friends also. I couldn't be there because she had moved to a distant city. The "friends" had her ashes, they threw them into their lake, their gathering place, into the diving hole and then threw their empty beer cans in after.
    ..

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  11. Oh that's something every woman will understand. She's the one dying and yet she's apologizing, perhaps mostly sincerely, but likely with a heavy dose of irony. I can't count how many times I've said "sorry!" and then wondered why I had.

    However, my favorite line is the penultimate one about her hugging her body goodbye.

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    1. Death is such an imposition on other people. Thanks, FB. Your prompt took me to places I've been avoiding.. cheaper than therapy.
      ;-)

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  12. That would be me, 'apologizing for the inconvenience of my departure'. I love this poem, Kerry.

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    1. When I first collapsed, I felt it coming upon me and my words to my husband were: 'I'm very sorry to tell you this but I think I'm about to die.'

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  13. It seems that all of our ordeals have a freight of some insight and/or meaning that we own when they are passed--and I so hope yours has passed--death is the ultimate imposition, the reminder no one wants to hear, as well as the change no one can ignore. Very well and humanly expressed here is every line.

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    1. I can certainly attest to the learning curve, for sure. Thanks, Hedge.. I survived.

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  14. Your poem hit me hard today, a good friend and actor buddy is taking what most likely will be her last breaths today. Hugging her body goodbye is an overwhelming visual. Beautifully done, kerry.

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  15. Oh wow!..so much in this. Sadly I have watched too many hug their bodies goodbye.

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    1. The hugging of the body seems to me to be the most genuine feeling in the piece.. the one dying has to let go of the only body they have known..

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  16. I do a lot of people watching at hospices. I know how weird that sounds, but I'm just intrigued by how different individuals approach those who are terminally ill. You see the terrified, the overly affectionate, the ones who wish not to be there but no one can make them leave... And the person in bed has to suffer all of it. I suspect too many of them share the feelings of your speaker, but... they stay polite all the way to the grave.

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    1. Never an easy time for any person involved in a passing, least of all for the one who is dying.

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  17. It would seem that even in our final event of life we may feel the need to apologise for completeing our physical journey in this world! Again, Kerry, I've enjoyed reading your work

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    1. When you know your death will hurt other people, it seems natural to apologize in advance but the irony is obvious.

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  18. Weird paradox -- our culture is driven to hide from death, and yet we're obsessed with it, especially when the cold blade is swishing close by. As if we're magnified by someone else's passing. " ... Bringing grapes and chocolates/ eager for a sight of blood." Great response to the challenge.

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    1. Thanks, Brendan. I agree that there is an obsession with death. We never seem to be at peace with the concept of our own mortality.

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