Saturday, June 06, 2009

Original Poetry Sunday, Vol. 1, No. 4

Death comes in the morning
In silence louder than
the chatter of hungry nestlings
and brighter than
the optimistic dawn.

The family hovers,
exhausted and drawn
grey statues keeping vigil
throughout the longest night.
One by one she draws them near
to whisper soft I love you
and her breath upon their cheeks
cools their frightened tears.

She looks across the room,
sees her youngest there,
eyes wide, gawky elbows
pulled tight to heaving ribs,
fingers clenched like a white vise.
"Too young," she says with
her last voice. "Too young to be left,"
as if death would listen to reason.

Where is the tiny soldier now,
the woman tilting for a fight,
the scoffer at authority?
Where is the valiant one who marched -
always - headlong before them?
It is the final failure, she knows,
to die too soon, to leave them still
unfinished, raw, permeable.

But death comes in the morning
In silence louder than
the chatter of hungry nestlings
and brighter than
the optimistic dawn.

Sandra Leigh 2009

Be sure to visit the other bloggers taking part in Original Poetry Sunday. At last count, they were:

René Wing, Yes is Red
John Hayes, Robert Frost's Banjo
Rose Marie, Apogee Poet
Mairi, Secret Poems from the Times Literary Supplement
Kat, "Poetikat", Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes

And anybody else that would like to take part - please do, and if you link back to one of the other participants, we'll add you to the list.


Karen said...

Sandra, this is absolutely heart wrenching. I've been in that room, only with one who has lived a long life and leaves adult children who still feel like orphans at her leaving. I can only imagine the terror of the young ones. You depict it perfectly with the heaving ribcage; however, it is the mother's regret at this "final failure" that moves me most.

Audrey said...

What a sad and powerful poem! Written so beautifully.

John Hayes said...

Very moving-- the brightness that exceeds dawn is a great image, & there really is something kind of disturbing about the chatter of nestlings that's right. The description of the child-- the "heaving ribs" seems so right. & I liked the repeat of the first stanza.

René Wing said...

I remember that feeling... the loss and the grayness. It is palpable here.

Mairi said...

Death coming in silence louder than whatever happens to be going on at the moment is a great oxymoron and put to powerful use. After reading your poetic beginnings I'm afraid I feeling your personal pain as much as the universal pain of the situation, a hazard, I guess, of knowing anything at all about an artist. I was over forty when my mum died but I felt just like that child - too young to be abandoned.

Poetikat said...

"As if death would listen to reason."

This takes me back to my father's death-bed. That's not easy.

I feel this one.


Poetikat said...

Not that I haven't felt your others, it's just this one particulary hits home.


Sandra Leigh said...

Oh, I'm sorry - Karen, Audrey, John, Kat, René, Mairi - I didn't mean to. Oh, hell. I guess I did mean to make you sad. But now that I've done it, I feel bad! OTOH, I'm glad you liked the poem. I just got back from Vancouver (It's after 9:30 p.m.), and I haven't even had a chance to read everybody's poems. I think I'll leave it to tomorrow, because I am having a hard time keeping my eyes open. 15,305 steps on my pedometer today.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Loss made painfully and yet so beautifully real. When having lost my husband at a relatively early age, I too felt what you have expressed here. Three months after my husband passed, so did my mother - yes, death was very much alive as you so poignantly expressed.

Sandra Leigh said...

Rose Marie, thank you for your kind words. Someone was reminding us that change is the one constant, but I'm afraid that means that loss is the one constant, and the place where we most easily connect to one another.

Poetikat said...

Good for you! I cycled on my stationary bike for 40 minutes today. I'd been off it for awhile because the seat was really uncomfortable, so after some hunting around, we've now got a good saddle on it that's about 1/4 of the size (really!) and that makes all the difference.
We must stay fit to "cheat time" right?


kimmirich said...


Karen said...

Sandra - You're right...sadness WAS the point, and our feeling your intent IS the intent! Did that make any sense? If not, that's okay; I've had a long day, too.

I still like the poem ;-)

Blog Archive