Saturday, November 03, 2012

CCCXCVIII - The Departure

Three Word Wednesday invites us to use three given words in a piece of work.
This weeks words are ‘sallow’, ‘false’ and ‘illustrate’.

The Departure

The shades were drawn.  
The room hung heavy.  

Just the breathing.

She was dying.  

There was no avoiding, 
No denying that the end was close.  
Her skin sallow, lack-lustre, 
Crinkled like yellow crepe; 
The faded wrappings of seasons long gone.  

Her eyes glazed, 
With that faraway look 
Of the indifferent.  

Her breathing irregular, 

Long pauses 
Forcing the watchers to hold theirs, 

Visitors came intermittently, 

Full of false bonhomie and cheer
But you could see it in their eyes, 
Their expression 
In those brief moments 
When they let their guard down: 
Grapes and flowers. 


Fade to black.

The obituary spoke of the lovely person that she had been long back when
and was illustrated with a picture of her, much younger then, holding a parasol. 
Her life was before her, full of promise, odd to see it now and
reconcile it with the hollow shell that had remained.

Two women died that day.

I wonder which one St Peter chose.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2012

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  1. Nice poem, my uncle must be feeling the same when his mom died recently.

  2. Very touching and extremely well-written.

    Her skin sallow, lack-lustre,
    Crinkled like yellow crepe;
    The faded wrappings of seasons long gone.

    This is great writing!

  3. St. Peter obviously didn't choose the third nun in the tale below!

    Three Italian nuns die and go to heaven.

    At the Pearly Gates, they are met by St. Peter. He says, 'Sisters, you all
    Led such exemplary lives that the Lord is granting you six months to go
    Back to earth and be anyone you wish to be

    The first nun says, 'I want to be Sophia Loren;'

    And “Poof!” - she's gone.

    The second says; “I want to be Madonna!”….and…“Poof!” - she's gone.

    The third says, “I want to be Sara Pipalini..”

    St. Peter looks perplexed. “Who?” he ask

    “Sara Pipalini.” Replies the nun.

    St. Peter shakes his head and says, “I'm sorry, but that name just doesn't
    ring a bell.”

    The nun then takes a newspaper out of her habit and hands it to St. Peter.

    St. Peter reads the paper and starts laughing. He hands it back to her and

    “No, Sister…the paper says it was the ' Sahara Pipeline' that was laid by 1,400 men in 6 months.”

    By the way, Cosmo...a thought-provoking poem...well done. :)

    1. Is this a version of the Muslim heaven with 72 virgins? Whatever, glad you didn't do it for priests. :-)

    2. No...only pipe layers....

  4. Very astute observations of human behaviour when confronting death.. fear of showing real emotion,fear of death and phoney bonhomie out of awkwardness.A recent experience for me.I find being with the mourners more stressful than actually confronting death with the dying person.

    The outer shell changes but not the essence of the person.
    I am sure you are still a 25 year old trapped in the body of an indeterminately aged person (ahem)

    A sensitive treatment of death. Beautiful poem.

  5. OH, so beautifully written!

  6. I'm with ladyfi today. And so much of this was true as my father lay dying. Thank you.

  7. I'll use a word I almost never use - exquisite...

  8. What a touching poem. Two women died that day - such an amazing line, so true how we become a different person on the outside as we age.

  9. This is a beautiful poem! Indeed when one person dies, many people within them die. Truly I had never thought about that before......and it makes death all the sadder, now that I am thinking about it.

  10. This was the passing of my mother.
    This is a beautiful poem.

  11. "Crinkled like yellow crepe;
    The faded wrappings of seasons long gone."

    What a great description. I really like the marriage of image and concept here.

    Also, kudos on using "bonhomie." I thoroughly enjoy vocabulary.

  12. Great depiction of death...I felt that heavy room. And "Two women died that day" is brilliant.

  13. Wow that was very intensely and well done.

  14. Love the ending (from the fade onwards). I didn't wonder long!

  15. what an intense piece... you wrote these emotions beautifully... the story touched my heart.

  16. As usual, a beautifully written poem and very powerful in its images, striking chords, lifting emotions. I liked the line
    "Full of false bonhomie and cheer." That's quintessential Cosmo!

  17. It's so moving and so real! The picture of impending death is just morbid. You described it so well Cosmos! So also the pipe lines, laid by 1400 in 6 months! She wouldn't last!


  18. This is simply beautiful. The scene just leaps off my computer screen. Love the ending!

  19. Deep poem Cosmo. Your description is perfect.

  20. Funny how we hold our breaths too, excellent detail, you paint such a perfect scene. Nice!

  21. A death scene, in full detail.

  22. You have described this to perfection, and taken us right to the bedside, captured peoples' hearty bluster so well.....and also taken us back to the young beautiful girl she once was and still remembered, within. When I visit the dying, I love seeing the photos of their busy lives - their families - their furnished homes - reflecting on how vital it all was, winding down to a hospital bed, a toothbrush and a comb.

  23. Fascinating -- great description of a sight I have watched too often.
    I just did an "empty shell" image that matches some of the insights here too, I think.
    Well written, mate.

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