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Death Poems

Started by DavidGrayson, September 10, 2011, 05:27:07 PM

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Don Baird

Hi Andy ... I enjoy looking at the clouds and pondering.  You have me doing so once again after reading your poem.

Don
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

Andy

Don, glad I could add another facet to your pondering.

Andy

Chase Gagnon

I recently bought a book called "Japanese Death Poems" and its a pretty good book.
I enjoyed reading everyone's ku and i thought I'd share one of mine.


while thinking about suicide, i wrote this

morning stars
this short, but worn path
fades into grass


whitedove

I'm late coming to this link, but I've enjoyed it immensely.  Thanks to all of you for your wonderful thoughts and poems.  Like Chase, I bought a book of Japanese Death Poems, and I very much enjoyed reading it. @ Chase—your poem is marvelous, but don't ever take that road. My husband's cousin, a gifted cardiovascular surgeon took his own life a few years ago. For others, the grief never ends.  I don't know if the poem I wrote could be considered a death poem, but I wrote it when I was battling breast cancer and entered it in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku International.  To my surprise it won a Sakura award.  I didn't think it had a chance when I read after I'd submitted that the theme of the contest was the joy of sharing cherry blossoms.  My poem explores themes of fragility and impermanence, and after I wrote it I thought it might make a good death poem.  The poem is:

brief lives
today the cherry blossoms
seem more permanent

Thanks again to all who contributed to this interesting discussion.  Rebecca Drouilhet

AlanSummers

Dear Rebecca,

You are a fine commentator, and I thank you for that.

I am not at all surprised that you won an award for your haiku.

brief lives
today the cherry blossoms
seem more permanent

It is completely in keeping with the respect that the Japanese hold for cherry blossoms because they are so brief and fleeting.

It's one of the best ever haiku I've read over twenty years on the subject of fleeting lives, and of cherry blossom.

Alan

Quote from: whitedove on September 29, 2012, 12:54:02 AM
I'm late coming to this link, but I've enjoyed it immensely.  Thanks to all of you for your wonderful thoughts and poems.  Like Chase, I bought a book of Japanese Death Poems, and I very much enjoyed reading it. @ Chase—your poem is marvelous, but don't ever take that road. My husband's cousin, a gifted cardiovascular surgeon took his own life a few years ago. For others, the grief never ends.  I don't know if the poem I wrote could be considered a death poem, but I wrote it when I was battling breast cancer and entered it in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku International.  To my surprise it won a Sakura award.  I didn't think it had a chance when I read after I'd submitted that the theme of the contest was the joy of sharing cherry blossoms.  My poem explores themes of fragility and impermanence, and after I wrote it I thought it might make a good death poem.  The poem is:

brief lives
today the cherry blossoms
seem more permanent

Thanks again to all who contributed to this interesting discussion.  Rebecca Drouilhet
Alan Summers,
founder, Call of the Page
https://www.callofthepage.org

whitedove

Hi, Alan  Thanks for your kind comments about my poem.  I've enjoyed all the poems presented here, but Don Baird's 'teetering grass' haiku stayed in my mind all day.  Such marvelous work!  Rebecca Drouilhet

Don Baird

Thank you, Rebecca.  :)
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

saore

QuoteREFUSING SURGERY
By Dwight Isebia

Is it a lack of respect for the gift of life,
not wanting them to cut in my body
and to refuse a surgeon to decide
to replace my organs and to attach a device
in order to prolong myself,  using money?

Am I wrong to wish my frame to continue,
without revisions and special measures
interfering with the course of nature,
knowing that such would not avoid departure
at a certain moment in future time,
notwithstanding adjustments I now decline?

Is it true that I refuse because I am too Lazy,
irresponsible, selfish, retarded or crazy?
(DPI 2011)

This is just a reflection. I am not ill personally!
- Dwight P. Isebia (www.scribd.com/disebia)

beautiful poem. and another beautiful poem.

Quotebrief lives
today the cherry blossoms
seem more permanent

sergio

whitedove

Hi, Sergio  Thanks for sharing your fine poem.  I worked as a registered nurse for many years, and I've had patients who could certainly identify with its themes and ideas.  Thanks also for your kind words about my humble poem.  The idea of writing poetry in honor of significant occaisons and events interests me.  I have wondered about using a haiku as my epitaph, also.  Rebecca Drouilhet

onecloud

#39
Quote from: Alan Summers on September 29, 2012, 09:05:35 AM
Dear Rebecca,

You are a fine commentator, and I thank you for that.

I am not at all surprised that you won an award for your haiku.

brief lives
today the cherry blossoms
seem more permanent

It is completely in keeping with the respect that the Japanese hold for cherry blossoms because they are so brief and fleeting.

It's one of the best ever haiku I've read over twenty years on the subject of fleeting lives, and of cherry blossom.

Alan

Quote from: whitedove on September 29, 2012, 12:54:02 AM
I'm late coming to this link, but I've enjoyed it immensely.  Thanks to all of you for your wonderful thoughts and poems.  Like Chase, I bought a book of Japanese Death Poems, and I very much enjoyed reading it. @ Chase—your poem is marvelous, but don't ever take that road. My husband's cousin, a gifted cardiovascular surgeon took his own life a few years ago. For others, the grief never ends.  I don't know if the poem I wrote could be considered a death poem, but I wrote it when I was battling breast cancer and entered it in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku International.  To my surprise it won a Sakura award.  I didn't think it had a chance when I read after I'd submitted that the theme of the contest was the joy of sharing cherry blossoms.  My poem explores themes of fragility and impermanence, and after I wrote it I thought it might make a good death poem.  The poem is:

brief lives
today the cherry blossoms
seem more permanent

Thanks again to all who contributed to this interesting discussion.  Rebecca Drouilhet

this is marty,
Rebecca beautiful poem

i love this topic.

i almost invite death,

now i am only 62 yrs, and as people i know disappear from life i wonder what is lost more and more,

i may be very selfish, i have become to feel what i lose is part of myself, (i am a reflection of your vision of me)

who knows me, who shared intimate moments with me, now they are gone, only a few people have gone someplace with me, and when they are gone only my memory is left. i fear i am becoming an archivist, all the past is left for me to collect.

and often it feels burdensome.
then i invite the present to overcome me. but am left confused.

my dad died in 2002, and my mom died this december past. i am collecting they're things and then i remember, i have my own things, who will i burden, what can i leave my children that will help them forget me, forget the past. then i wonder about all of culture, and the (maybe), misguided cycle of recording and keeping each moment ever experienced,

Blake overcome me,
"does the winged life destroy" ? 

i have been writing (haiku), on the subject of losing people.  i am not satisfied with any yet,

when my dad died in April i was struck by the crocus beside his door,

my dad's crocus
breaks ground at his door
he exits

but i like one i wrote about a photo of him more.

faded photograph, dad in his boat at full sail, always smiling


anyway....   these are the thoughts i have been oppressed by mostly the past few months.

also i wanted to spend more time with (the dying) caring for a person...  my mom did it, i waited with her for my dad to leave but she cared for him, i thought i would be taking care of her for the next few years, but she left on her own, by herself, still walking until collapsed.

her last steps
here i remove the gate
where she fell

as i began.... i love this topic, it is difficult to stop.  so on, and on....... til death

sabine

#40
Marty (and all) thanks for sharing. Yesterday Charlie Mehrhoff posted this on Facebook...for me it brought such light to the quandary of this "(maybe) misguided cycle of recording" that for a moment I was free of it.

   last words
   again

   
   haiku heaven

sabine

#41
Marty "the gate/where she fell"is a powerful image.

I don't think Ive written a good death haiku yet, and Ive been on an accelerated dying track for the last twenty years. For me its easier to express the feelings in free verse. I admire the examples given, such testament to the power of non attachment,  or maybe it'd thoroughly metabolized attachment.

William Ramsey's book "More Wine" is all death and transformation and transcendence, just read it last night:



         not letting go
     the piece of honey
        on your lips   




   faith: accepting the wave,  a dying seal's flipper

hairy

Wonderful topic..many lasting and memorable ku. I wrote this haiku recently and would like to share it--followed by the backstory that inspired it


crossing over. . .
the warmth
of unseen hands



This was written after reading an article "Hospital and ER Personal Experiences"

Another hospital worker, Sheila, along with her colleagues' witnessed a remarkable crossing over of a dying patient that forever changed her views about death, dying, and the period of crossing over, causing her to look "upon her dying patients with new eyes and dignity." Wills-Brandon details the story:


One night in 1982 she was working a night shift, attending to a man who was not thought to be in any immediate danger or extremely ill, when at about eight P.M., he began talking very lucidly about a loved one whom he longed to see. Sheila could not tell who this person was, but it was obvious that the man had not seen her in many years and never expected to do so again. The impression is that she must have passed away some years before.... At about 9:30 he began talking about this person again, and his vital signs also began to fall. Fearing the worst, more medical staff was brought in. The patient became wonderfully alert, as some people do very near the end. As time went by, it was clear he could see someone there whom no one else could see. Suddenly, his face lit up like a beacon. He was staring and smiling at what was clearly a long-lost friend, his eyes so full of love and serenity that it was hard for those around him to not be overcome by tears.

Sheila follows by saying "There was no mistake. Someone had come for him at last to show him the way." Minutes later the man died, in a state of sublime peace and happiness."

All Love,
Al

DavidGrayson

Al,

Wow ... What a wonderful story. I love the haiku. Incidentally, it reminds me of one of my favorite haiku ... by Michael Dylan Welch:

toll booth lit for Christmas—
from my hand to hers
warm change 

Also, the backstory seems almost like a "found" haibun. I like the idea of using a story, article, snippet, etc. and responding to it with a haiku. I don't recall seeing this before!

Thanks for sharing.

David

hairy

#44
David: Thanks for responding and your comments. And the beautiful Michael Dylan Welch ku that is visually and tactilily impactful with the warm interchange between driver and tool booth collector. Quite memorable. Thanks for sharing.

Al

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