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The First and Last Death

Who cannot remember the first telling
Of death? A deep incision in your small frame,
Told with a strange conviction
That all things living
Will die and follow in a parallel universe,
Up above the clouds, up where all is wonderful.
But all was wonderful all the time
Down here.

You sensed it might be so. No matter:
You will be the one who lives forever.

The years passed. Grandparents die.
The holy men sing over the coffin.
They told you not to doubt the lord.
For a time you didn’t.
Then there were no dinosaurs in the holy books.
You lost interest.

So you reach that prime-
People pass along the way.
Blessed are those who have good cards
And live another year, and another.
Death was always to fear, but not too near.

At last hair turns white and eyes sink in-
You remember again the first death,
As the friends and family vanish.
You consider the prophecies
In the silence of your memories.
You have reached a certain state of being
To fully comprehend
Your place among the obituaries;
How you are no different from the tree
In the happy silence of a blossoming.

Last few words: 
National Poetry Month- we're supposed to write one poem a day. Alas I have failed, But here's the one from the other day. (Edited: From original, I reworked the first stanza so it would be understood immediately as a toddler receiving the bad news.)
Editing stage: 

Comments

Eumolpus to me this is a nice poem but i dont see any reason we have to be afraid of death

always remember to make a critique of other poems
using the hoe is not madness for nothing

but I think that's what the poem is about.
Firstly it is clear that fear of death is primal instinct of man. It is why we imagine gods and heavens, from the beginning of time. Interesting in the diaries of Krishnamurti, who spent his whole life speaking of acceptance of death, would question is own fears days away from his own. It is instinct. He understood that, and transcended it.
The intent of the poem is to follow our understanding of death from childhood to old age. As a child it is unreal, and as you age it becomes more comprehensible. As I re-read the poem I think, I hope, that should come through .
But as far as "not seeing any reason to be afraid of death", I think that is out of our hands. Instinct
and reason are often contradictory.
..

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

or that I'm actually an immortal elf,
but my own mortality has never come home to me,
despite numerous near death experiences.

Pets, friends and rellies have died,
famous folk I admired, even loved.
But not me.

I guess I know it's going to happen
and there are a few things I'd like to get done first
but I don't fear it at all.

Pain and discomfort terrify me, but death is someone else's problem.

So though I can't relate to it your poem was effective for me in understanding how others feel.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

I was hoping the take-away from the poem would be zen like; in that the natural way of accepting death in old age after a life of changing attitudes about it

I hope you would consider making a poem about-
"death is someone else's problem."

That would be a most interesting poem!
Thanks for reading,

..

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Great title and I'm on it. Thanks for the inspiration.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

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