Friday, 16 October 2009

Friday again!

How quickly Fridays - and the Auction mart - come round here. It seems to be the contact point of the week somehow and it always seems to be Friday before we get over the weekend. So it is rush round, tidy up, look at the e mails and then go into the market while the farmer looks at the prices and hears the gossip at the Mart.
It is a glorious Autumn day here, mild, sunny, a light breeze ruffling the changing leaves and the smell of Autumn bonfires in the air. Lovely.
TFE has set us quite a challenge for the Monday Poetry Bus. I have chosen to read Sylvia Plath's Lady Lazarus "many times" as he instructed. Poor old Sylvia was a very mixed up lady - and a brilliant poet (maybe the two things go together) - and, with hindsight, it is almost impossible to read any of her poetry without reading into it the "hooks", the "barbs", the covert references to death. So, inevitably, my Monday poem is about Death.
I always feel sorry that there is such a taboo about death here in the Western world. As my brother used to say - we are dying the minute we are born, so why get so het up about it. As I get older I find I view it with equanimity - it is inevitable, so best to enjoy every minute before the Grim Reaper comes for you. That's my philosophy in a nutshell.
However, to get back to that Poetry Bus, which seems to be gathering momentum and hurtling along now. I wrote two poems. Naturally I am saving one for Monday morning, but I thought I would give the other one an airing here today - to see what you think. Before writing I read a lot of Dylan's poetry (he is another one who wrote at length about death, isn't he?), and John Donne (he even kept his shroud pinned on his study wall - I think that is going a bit far), Ted Hughes - and various other poets, and as I read I made notes. This poem is constructed from those notes:-

The Inevitable.

Yes, cover the mirrors,
save the souls.
Let his last frail deeds,
his plucking at the blankets,
the last thin words,
the dying light,
move through inexorably
'til that silence
so profound
it can be heard
signals that he is
gone. PT

Could I make a plea to all readers. If you know someone who has recently lost a loved one - if you meet that person in the roadway then please make a point of speaking directly to them and asking them how they are and how they are coping with the death. When I was widowed I watched people I knew well cross the road to avoid having to speak to me (I suppose they just didn't know what to say), and this week I spoke to someone who is now going through the same experience. If you don't know what to say then say "I don't know what to say". People who are recently bereaved need every tiny human contact they can get - a hug, a smile, a hand on the shoulder - anything rather than being ostracised, for whatever reason.

29 comments:

Heather said...

Your poem is so concise and right to the point Weaver. It deals with the fact of death without being morbid. Some years ago, a friend lost his wife and I saw him approaching in the street and was scared of meeting him. To my consternation he crossed the road to speak to me saying 'I know you don't know what to say, but just wanted to say Hello!' I was immediately put at ease and we chatted for a while, but I did feel ashamed of myself for being such a weakling. Enjoy the weekend.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

A beautiful piece of writing, the poem and the call to reach out to the bereaved. I love coming here - it is a kind, honest and gentle place.

ewix said...

Yes. So very hard to know what to say.
You are right. Just say 'I'm so very sorry' and hug or smile or whatever is appropriate.
Don't ask what you can do. (Hard to think when you're sad and in shock.
Turn up with food. Go to shops. Walk their dog.
Walk WITH them.
love you, Weaver

Have a peaceful and lovely w/e

Totalfeckineejit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Totalfeckineejit said...

Made an incoherent mess of that, will try again.Drink taken , nuff said.

Wise words as ever Weaver, and great philosophy too.I hope you won't be shuffling off this mortal coil anytime soon, we need the good people.And TWO poems? Be da hokey! I love that in this one death is an audible silence, such an apposite contradiction.Merci bien mon comrade!Dylan Thomas is on my radar as is Ted Hughes, not John Donne so far but... Also how apt is it that Mr Thomas' initials are DT as in 'I'm getting the DT's!'Nice poem Weaver.Looking forward to travelling with you on Monday,I think it may be our best(or worst) trip yet!Vive la revolution poetique!Death be the way is/was not such a taboo here in Ireland. With a deep cathoiic tradition it is seen as a re-birth, as did Sylvia, for different reasons, and as such to be embraced, not feared.We had wakes and children would often queue to look at corpses in houses without any fear.Those days are changing of course as the church is , rightly, rocked to it's very foundations by shocking scandal revelation after abominably shocking scandal,(absolute power and all that)A church may come and go but i'd like to think we'd always believe in something more, something outside ourselves,that we don't fully understand, fundamental belief in good ,a belief in a 'God', another world and a new beginning.

willow said...

I remember giving a friend of mine, who had been widowed the previous year, a big hug. I was amazed when she thanked me, saying it was the first hug she'd had in six months.

I really like the "cover the mirrors" part in your poem. I wrote one on the Plath as well and it's ready to go for Monday's bus!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Your plea is heard. Often we don't know what to say. And having heard that is an okay statement makes it easier to know what to say.

Have a great weekend.

jinksy said...

The parents of those killed in Afghanistan may contest your view of death...

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

Yes, it's a glorious day!

Death is a difficult subject. Should a poem acknowledge the despair; aim to give solace; state the inevitability - or all of those? Your isn't morbid or melodramatic but is a calm and simple statement. I shall see how Monday's compares.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comment Heather - it is always good to get it out in the open.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Bonnie

The Weaver of Grass said...

Elizabeth - lovely examples of ways to help. When I was entering the last few days of my husband's life, a friend turned up with a box full of microwave meals and left them on the doorstep - they were much appreciated and I have never forgotten her kindness.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks TFE - wise words from you too.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Willow - interesting comment - hugs are probably the most important thing of all. An action says more than a whole lot of words.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Job Hunter. Thanks for the comment

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jinksy - I don't think those of us who have not loved ones in that field can possibly imagine what it is like - either to be worried, or to lose a dear one, or to have them severely injured and their lives changed for ever. I just don't know how they would begin to view death.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jinksy - also, on thinking about it, the same applies to those who lose small children or young sons and daughters to cruel illnesses.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Derrick - never an easy subject but one that needs addressing I think.

Pondside said...

Good post, Weaver, and a good reminder to us not to leave the grieving among us all alone. Thank you.

Dominic Rivron said...

A poignant poem.

I had a similar experience -people crossing the road- when I got divorced. At times like that you get to know who your real friends are.

maggi said...

I do agree with you on two counts; that we should enjoy and make the most of whatever time we have; that we should not shun those who are bereaved however uncomfortable it makes us feel, they are already feeling the absence of one they love without having also to suffer the absence of friends and acquaintances.

Mark Kreider said...

So many good comments from warm, feeling readers. I'm going to visit my folks in their 90s next week and I will carry your thoughts and observations with me... and I'll have hugs for the living while I may.

Titus said...

Liked the poem very much Weaver, and can I echo and shout your words on talking to the recently bereaved.
Foremost in my mind is after my father's death: I had only been in the police force for a year, got the statutory "compassionate leave" to go home and on my return everyone kept saying to me "You don't have to talk about it". I wanted to scream, "I do, actually".
Dad died at 57 in a car accident. I could still talk about him all day. Nobody would let me back then.

madcobug said...

Very good entry. I once had a stillborn baby and no one except family and our pastor and his wife came to visit me. Not even a member of the curch I belonged to. I was so sad and didn't understand, I went into a deep depression but later I did come to the conclusion that they didn't come because they just didn't know what to say. Thanks for the visit and comment in my blog.
Have a blessed weekend. Helen

dick said...

A fine poem and such good advice to those encountering the bereaved. Our spurning of those recently bereaved seems to arise from some sense that the immanence of death within others is somehow infectious. Being part of life we must confront it and offer comfort when we can.

Hildred and Charles said...

Weaver, I sat with my friend whose husband was dying. He was on a respirator that sounded through the house. Suddenly it stopped, - there was no breath to keep it going.

Your lines about silence reminded me vividly of that day.

Lovely poem.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Such a lot of inspiring and uplifting comments - it is a subject that needs constant airing I think - so let's all talk about it openly when we can.
Jinksy's point is a fair one. It was reiterated in The Times this morning when the actress Sue Johnstone commented that it made head lines when a "slightly fatter" model than usual hit the catwalk at the recent Fashion Shows. As she quite rightly said - people are dying in Afghanistan - for goodness sake let's get our priorities right.

steven said...

hello weaver - a powerful and insightful poem - also kind loving advice to people to pay special care to anyone who has seen someone close to them fly away. steven

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