Thursday, July 30, 2015

While waiting to die

Her weakened voice's a half whisper
But she's got eagle's eyes- 
Each day, her accounting fingers  
labelled, folded, parceled, incised

All her worldly possessions- clothes
Piled neatly by seasons
Shoes, boxed along with bags & hats,
Jewels--not for grievance-- 

She's a rose, darkly burnt,  ashes
Smoldering of last fire
Her body hears death's baritone
Yet she's busy- here, there - 

                                               Photography by Ars Thanea

Posted for D'verse Poets Pub - Emily's Not So Common Meter (Emily Dickinson), Hosted by Victoria C. Slotto
and Poets United - Acceptance

I have learned that my daughter in law's 89 year old grandmother has been giving away her things and properties, upon learning that she is in the last stage of cancer.


  1. "Her body hears death's baritone / Yet she's busy- here, there - "...this happens to us, the worldly souls, being uselessly busy while 'curfew tolls the knell of parting day' the Dickinson style punctuation...and the image of burnt roses...

    1. oooops...i totally misread your beautiful poem, Grace for not reading the footnotes sorry for your daughter-in-law's grand mother who is such a brave, pure and rare soul....

    2. Its fine Sumana ~ Thanks for the thoughtful comment ~

  2. Really impressed.I think in that last times.
    Im sorry by your daughter in law grand mom.
    Is difficult!

  3. Ah, it is good that in her final days she is busy with something that is important for her. I like her attitude toward death really!

  4. I am impressed by her act. This is very selfless and generous - very touching too.

  5. What a beautiful write in her honor. Very touching indeed.

  6. You had great success with this, Grace, allowing enough freedom that it really echoes Emily's style. Impressive how you give us a complete character sketch of this woman's end-of-life process in just 12 well-crafted lines. It makes me wonder what she was like before her terminal diagnosis...and if I will be like that. I suspect so.

    1. She is/was a very busy enterprising woman, running her accounting firm.

      I want to follow the same thing too ~ Thanks Victoria ~

  7. Just lost my mother-in-law, days after turning 90; she began giving things away like five years ago. Your poem more than echoes--it's like finding one of her lost poems; dark & lovely.

  8. A brilliant and delightful read.

  9. I am sorry to hear about your DILs grandmother, but perhaps this is her way of making peace with her own mortality and leaving what she can for others.

    I wonder if you might play that last line a bit different as I think it takes it away from your story. Just a thought or opinion.

    1. I have been trying to edit and edit it, within the form ~ I think what I am trying to say is that she is busy still with life ~

      Will re-read again to fine tune, thanks ~

  10. My nasty little crime fiction mind had a much darker scenario in my head until I read your explanation. There is a certain ambiguous and restless quality to it that could be interpreted in two ways.

  11. What a beautiful and fitting tribute. I love these lines, which are enhanced by the picture: "She's a rose, darkly burnt, ashes / Smoldering of last fire." I like that even though the end is near, she is still a rose. They don't last nearly long enough (though 89 is quite a long time), but roses are certainly beautiful to the very end. Peace, Linda

  12. Beautiful poem. And such so sad. Sorry to hear about your DILs grandmother.


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    1. Even in ones final days it is good to keep busy, doesn't make it any easier though for others

  14. A wonderful touching read, and perfectly fitting. God Bless your daughter-in-law's grandmother.

  15. So sorry to hear about your daughter in law's grandmother.. this is a beautiful and befitting tribute.

    Lots of love,

  16. I remember all too well when my wife's grandmother started to give things important thing for them to do...but sad to see, as it is a signal that they see the end

  17. Thanks for sharing this with Midweek Motif too, Grace! Death is something we indeed have to find a way to accept, to come to terms with.

  18. I'm not brave enough to tackle this prompt myself, but I'm so pleased that you all did. This is turning out to be one of my favorite rounds, as each poem is so very good. Wonderful, wonderful writing, Grace.

    I would love to know the woman you're writing about. She sounds fascinating and inspiring.

  19. Even in her last moments, selflessness shines brightly. I've had some members of my family die and take everything with them to the grave. true colors show in life as well as death. Sorry for your DIL grandma

    1. How can you take everything to the grave? Thanks Anthony & I appreciate your visit ~

  20. The subject of your poem, sad though it is, reminds me of a friend's 80th birthday party (no presents, commanded the invitation). She gave every guest a carefully thought out present from her possessions. Mine was a book on the chateaux of Normandy (where I live).

    1. What a lovely gesture, I like this~

    2. 82, and I had not thought of such a Kindness. But I WILL now.
      Maybe 85 (just b/c...) Let's see...anyone out there want a really fine violin?
      Thanks for sharing that vivinfrance!

  21. Preparing for the end is a tough one.

  22. I am impressed and inspired by her organization. Someone I know just died suddenly, dropped like a stone at 63 with a heart attack - and the family had to do all the sorting and disposing - so much went to the dump. It is so good to think about this ahead of time. She sounds like an amazing woman! What a practical response.

  23. Busy here, there....not passively waiting. Friend of mine, who died in May was in the process of doing the same thing when unexpectedly, she passed. A lovely poem and one that shows the bravery of the lady. I am sorry for the circumstances - very touching and sad and excellent style.

  24. How noble can she be! She will leave easy! It has a way of being rewarded even at that stage! Very poignant Grace!


  25. Oh.. the voice of Emily coming
    from dead roses in
    another room..
    sing song..
    dies in
    death.. afraid
    to approach human
    eyes of life.. the depths
    of eyes move on and
    words of
    and yes..
    i am in that
    room alone too..
    for a now existing..
    when sing
    and the
    rest is expressed
    as stone cold
    and dark
    so on..:)

  26. Acceptance expressed by doing the necessary - impressive!

  27. Beautifully expressed Grace. Death can be embraced and accepted - I'm sure all those little acts are precious to her. Thanks for sharing

  28. To me, not so sad. I rather enjoyed that last line b/c it is sort of me. At 82, time is naturally limited. But I never really ponder death, until I read about it. Just too busy. True. Really. After midnight here, and cannot go to bed--there is too much to DO. It is also how the lady will live--to the final minute! YOU WRITE SO WELL, Grace!

  29. powerfully done, and a graceful honorarium ~


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