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Monday, 16 September 2013

Why can only the living mourn?


What makes us suppose
that only the living grieve?

Now all but lost in this new
and familiar world
of tall, leaning-together buildings,
grey and grubby as they are.
I walk between them in the rain,
tasting the water, soaking it in,
into the pores of my skin,
into every sensation.
Pure water. Holy water. Water for baptism.
Water enough to end a world
or build another drop by drop,
enough to bring world peace,
enough to wash the old one away.

I know these tenements of old,
she lives in one of them, she whom I mourn.
All around me the echoes of water. Water running.
Water splashing and gurgling.
Holy water to bless my mood.
Not to rubbish or vanquish it,
but to fashion and welcome it.

And she, does she grieve for me?
she in her tall, dark world,
topped by the light of the sun?
Does she hear my rain. Or even see it?
Does she know that I grieve?
that not only the living can mourn?


Sincere thanks for all the kind and interesting comments on How do I prepare for death? and huge apologies if I frightened anyone. It was, as always, interesting to hear of the beliefs of our Druid, Hindu and other friends. Again, today's poem was not specifically addressed to my present condition, but I guess must have been influenced by it. Hope it was not another fright or a poem too far!
As for the even more appreciated enquiries and good wishes for my health, I cannot begin to tell you how much they mean to me. I did manage to type out a personal reply to each one -- and forgot to save it!! That is about the measure of my present state of mind. I was warned that I would feel exhausted towards the end of my treatment, but in fact I did so from the first day, and still do beyond midday. That might not have mattered, as A.M. was when I mostly worked, but A.M. now seems to be taken up by a steady stream of medics of every hue and tint. I will now do my best to get round to you all. Please keep the comments and posts coming, and I will continue to attempt the same. It is just weakness, sleepiness and a lack of opportunity preventing me from doing more at present. Thanking you once again.

94 comments:

Tabor said...

I have been on travel while you have moved forward on this journey. One of the passengers on our ship had terminal cancer and was struggling to make this last voyage. He always had a smile on his face!

Cloudia said...

"She lives" and "mourn me."
You imagine the forlorn wanderings of certain deceased - certainly a unique or classical place-of-view........

Aloha is love

Helen said...

... we hear your rain, we see your rain.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Just to say that I am thinking of you Dave.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Superb poem David, a vivid rain dominates it.
All my best wishes I am sure your poetry will give strength to your body and spirit.
(Actually poetry is what saved my spirit, and consequently my body, three years ago, so I have a real faith in poetry. I am not exaggerating if I say that I am still alive thanks to it.)

Elephant's Child said...

This morning is wet. Very wet. Blessed rain.
And I suspect that not only the living DO mourn.
Does anything look as forlorn as a deserted house?
Thinking of you, and always glad to see another thought provoking poem from the hands of the master. I hope the medical mayhem calms down soon.

kaykuala said...

Holy water,rain water, any water these are all so refreshing. Water in all its forms is a life-saver! Nicely Dave!

Hank

Brian Miller said...

do we still grieve after death, i wonder...perhaps if we are in a better place we grieve those that make decisions leading them further from that reunion one day...who knows...smiles.

Mary said...

Good lines in this poem again, Dave. My favorites are:

Pure water. Holy water. Water for baptism.
Water enough to end a world
or build another drop by drop,
enough to bring world peace,
enough to wash the old one away.

If only it would be that somehow water would help build world peace. And as for whether or not the dead grieve, I prefer to think of them dancing!

Always good to see your poetry, Dave.

Michelle Wallace said...

Beautiful poetry.
I'm sending you a boost of positivity across the globe---------WHOOSH-------
Take care.
Writer In Transit

Carl said...

Dave - Interesting concept. Got me thinking again. Your subject matter is only a natural choice and one worthy of exploring by a poet so gifted as you.

Carl said...

PS - Get all the rest you need! Sending you good thoughts from New York!

Outlawyer said...

Hey Dave --feel no need to make visits--just feel better. I can imagine it is emotionally as well as physically draining--just hard.

For the poem--it is wonderful-aI go along those types of thoughts myself, but you have expressed them masterfully--all very interesting. Thanks much. K.

Ygraine said...

Oh I so love this!
The concept of Water (the physical expression of Spirituality) connecting the living with the "dead" through mourning is absolutely fabulous.
Contact with loved ones is never severed. Truly.
It is simply a matter of faith. We are the only ones who can block ourselves...and WE have free will!

Do hope your treatment is, and continues to go well, Dave. I am with you every step of the way!:)

jabblog said...

Very interesting - something I had not considered.The watcher-over could certainly rejoice, worry and, yes, grieve. This will stay with me.
I hope your treatment is not too harsh. Sleep is a good way of escaping the unpleasant aspects.

Raj said...

Its a lovely poem Sir. and do take care.

Raj said...

Its a lovely poem Sir. and do take care.

manicddaily said...

Hey Dave--hope all okay. Thinking of you. This is a beautiful poem--I am thinking of Eliot and all that business about water in the Wasteland, this time through it.

This section of Eliot--
If there were water 345
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring 350
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock 355
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water

But of course here you DO have water--water everyone --and isn't that wonderful.

Hope you are feeling okay. Take care. k.

A Cuban In London said...

As long as you keep producing poetry of this calibre any type up response would be welcomed but not necessary. This poem asks questions whose answers remain only in the realm of art, not just the written one, literature, but the visual one, too.

"I know these tenements of old,
she lives in one of them, she whom I mourn."

I don't know why that sentence brought a lump to my throat and made me well up a bit.

Many thanks and take good care of yourself.

Greetings from London.

Cloudia said...

thinking of you fondly, Dave

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Ash said...

It's a beautiful poem, Dave!

Sending you lots of good vibes and hugs!

patteran said...

This is a haunting poem, full of resonances that whilst personal to you must strike echoes in any of us for whom death has had palpable reality.

I've not been around the blogs for a while. I've lost much of the momentum that kept me in touch with those I encountered in the earlier days. So I've missed mention of your treatment and having only recently finished my own, I'm concerned at how things are for you.

Jenny Woolf said...

Thank you Dave for continuing to write such marvellous poems. I am so sorry that you are having to cope with such tiredness, but it is good that your mind is working well, in its own inimitable way.

johnallenrichter said...

Dave, it looks as something that might have flowed from my own pen... Amazing our similarities, I think.... Good Poem!

Tabor said...

Dave, I was thinking of you today while watching a sunset. I knew that my poem in honor of it would be all smaltzy and yours would be full of life and death visions and great structure.

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annell said...

So sorry to hear of Dave's death.

Kutamun said...

Plenty of water in this one , may it carry you safe to the midnight sun ......
Godspeed mate

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