Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The dead man's journal

Grace @ Everyday Amazing


The dead man sits on wooden bench, rained with fallen leaves.
He marvels how sky light ripples the leaves
to cantaloupe gold, to dusky orange, to flaming red.
How the colors speak to him:
music interlude, flare of sunset, smell of overripe fruits-
Today, right now
pierces his numbed bones
as if his skin is made of a thousand dragonfly wings.

He gets a small jar to capture the air & scent of autumn.
He wants to slice & label 
Today, right now
With BIG, BOLD letters.
But the night wind is faster
sweeping leaves to decay & rot, 
wrapping them with glaze of first snowdrop-

Even now
time does not stop nor linger
Even though tomorrow means nothing
to the dead man now  
He feels the weight of his feet, moving as caterpillar
during last of summer nights:   voracious, hungry 
for every leaf, for every color shading the grass

He pens in his journal:  
Today I am hungry
and I have never felt so alive




Posted for D'verse Poets Pub - We are getting inspiration from The Book of Dead Man by Marvin Bell ~  Thanks for the visit ~

54 comments:

  1. I feel such a strong sense of loss in the way he observes the fall .. and night.. and that last stanza realizing the small difference between alive and dead..

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  2. Interesting that though time does mot stop tomorrow means nothing.,,,,And the dead man saying he never felt alive isa both sad and ironic. What a good prompt, Grace!

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  3. i hope i never write that last line in my journal...love the use of cantaloupe as the color of leaves....and the catching the smells in a jar to slice and label...ha...cool touch...fun piece

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    1. think I would add...
      never felt (more) alive
      or (as) alive

      I do think the new ending is much more a positive life...and contradictory to what we might think of the afterlife...

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    2. Thanks for the input Brian ~ I appreciate it ~

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  4. That has to be rough indeed, never feeling alive, don't know how one would survive

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  5. The dead man must be sending the nature all around:)

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  6. the dead man marvels at the beauty of fall..he is hungry for more...had he missed them all in his lifetime i wonder...perhaps his life passed on with petty mundane matters...i can only hear a sigh of regret in the last stanza...a beautiful poem Grace :)

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  7. This really sets a mood, quite impressive, it lends several thoughts here for me. Lovely piece.

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  8. oh heck.. never felt alive...that is tough... i like in a way that he couldn't tin and label the scents...there are things that are just for the moment...loved the skin made of a thousand dragonfly wings...

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  9. do like saving things in a jar... clever

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  10. I really like that second stanza. I've always wanted to try a dead man poem, but I've just never gotten around to it.

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  11. I like how 'your' dead man marvels at the beauty of autumn, the way so many of us do. The ending is much sadder though. Judging on what I have read so far, being dead is far from being fun.

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  12. Never felt alive....a tough sentiment....love the title...sad at the end.

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    1. After reading all the sad comments, I realized that this wasn't my original intention at all ~

      I edited the ending slightly ~ Thanks to all ~

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  13. i wonder in the last stanza if you meant /and have never felt (more) alive/than now/? That is how I read it, heard it in my head; nice feel of the Marvin Bell form here, one can hear his voice a bit. I liked many of the images, & even though regret seems to ferment within the piece, it read far from gloomy in the gloaming. Yes, like Claudia, I adore the lines /as if his skin is made of a thousand dragonfly wings/.

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    1. Yes, that is what I meant ~ Thanks Glenn ~

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  14. He is gone, he is not there anymore- but your words, make him so much alive, so much of his presence felt. Thank you for showing a great form, I am learning.

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  15. even though tomorrow means nothing to the dead man, he still feels hungry and alive... while surrounded by the beauty of autumn-grand imagery and great message

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  16. First of all, I see the inspiration from Bell in your words.
    And there is a wonderful sense of balance in this poem. The dead man marveling at the leaves and the feel and scents of autumn. There is a feeling of comfort despite of the subject being dead. The last line is painful and satisfying at the same time... because it makes me wonder if being alive is something that could be felt in death.
    The imagery is the powerhouse. :-)
    -HA

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  17. LOVE the thousand dragonfly wings....did you mean never felt more alive than now? at the end? I suspect that is often the case - my neighbor has bone cancer and his wife told me how much joy, love and appreciation they are feeling now for each day, days they took for granted before.

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  18. Loved the ending. It is true. One is always alive when one is hungry for life and feels intensely.

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  19. Great imagery all the way, and the use of falling into winter as metaphor for death.... Love the slicing and labeling of today, we could all do a bit more of that, save a bit for later.

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  20. Oh skin made of a thousand dragon flies...could be good, could drive you crazy but isn't it funny how when we say to ourselves this is it...there's nothing more to worry about we start to really see the world. It was a wonderful prompt you gave us all Grace, and so good to find another poet to read. Thank you!

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  21. Groovy piece. Love- "pierces his numbed bones / as if his skin is made of a thousand dragonfly wings." And I love the lines the dead man writes in his journal at the end.

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  22. When we will have time and time and time to feel our hunger we will ponder the intense speed of life--not only human life but all of it. There is a futility here though, an irony that when he least needs to preserve it in a jar, he tries!

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  23. I wonder what other things the dead man might pen in his journal as he tries
    to capture the meaning of life and death. Labeling today a reminder to enjoy each day in the journey of life.

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  24. Susan, I met and had a long talk with this 'dead' man last April in Key West, Florida. Yes, he was sitting on a bench, young in years, but old in lives. His life prior to this one he worked on Wall Street. His stock tip, "Buy Medical Marijuana stock."
    ..

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  25. Wouldn't it be great if we all could at least experience death in life.. once..

    Truly for me.. that WAS.. the best gift of death...

    in life.. but HELL NO.. i do NOT want to go back to..

    real HUMAN HELL.. which is more or less..

    death in life.

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  26. He wakes every morning to the sound of the blade sliding down the track, looking up from his sleep he sees what once kept his head out of the basket. Body thrown of the stage of crowd amusement he walks to find a place to sleep.

    God knows dead man is tedium daily reborn.

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  27. Absolutely beautiful dear Grace!

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  28. I love your descriptions of nature and since I came after the edit, I though the ending worked perfectly. :-) I like the way his hunger can be so many different things.

    janet

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  29. Brilliant Grace. I love the ending and assume the editing parenthesis is part of the poem. Like I said, brilliant!

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  30. Beautiful. What could have been sad is not always. Thank you, Grace! Have a beautiful week.

    Elsie

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  31. So true Grace, at the autumn of life to really appreciated it. Forgive ourselves for our transgressions and pass on our experiences for evolution.

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  32. so many things in life pass, and we cannot hold them - but we can find comfort that they remain for others to discover for their moment

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  34. "Even now
    time does not stop nor linger
    Even though tomorrow means nothing
    to the dead man now"
    When I first read this, I thought it referred to time still going on for the dead, even though temporal time no longer matters. Second reading, I felt time still goes on with no relation to the dead. Either way, your words are interesting in light of your ending.

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  35. I felt a melancholy tenderness in this, Grace but not sadness as some others have expressed. I feel more that he is rejoicing in the beauty around him but perhaps doesn't want to forget it.

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  36. I, too, would like to capture the air and scent of autumn. It's exhilarating even though it means that winter is coming soon.

    To me, the last stanza says that being alive involves the desire to see and do while we still can. I like that a lot.

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  37. Your beautiful, lush imagery here as always, turned to a somewhat different purpose.

    Oh, please tell me what you had as ending at first! To me, what you have now strikes a slightly false note, probably not in meaning but in expression. It seems to descend into banality. And you are never banal as a rule!

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    1. The original line was:

      Today I am hungry
      and I have never felt alive ~

      I was in a rush writing this between hosting & reading so I will probably have to revisit and edit ~ Thanks for the read Rosemary ~

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    2. May I respectfully suggest, 'and I have never felt so alive'?

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  38. the use of colour, music and scents really make this come alive for me... and though there's a sadness, a sense of decaying, there's that lovely statement at the end - to be more alive than when one was living, can it get much better than that?

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  39. Very beautiful...and that last line if full of irony...

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  40. love how he realizes he's never felt more alive towards the end!

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  41. Grace, you have created such a gorgeous world for your deadman to inhabit - alive or not. cantaloupe colored leaves, dragonfly wings and that voracious caterpillar - wonderfully moving images.

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  42. thanks for the prompt, Grace.

    a very internal pen, even with the glorious colors - you weave the introspective so deftly, yet place it out for all to see ~

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  43. I really like this, Grace. And I want to capture the air and scent of autumn too...

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Thank you for your comments and visit. I appreciate them ~