Some final thoughts: Poem published in edited collection

Some final thoughts   

When I am laid to rest

Passed away

Gone to the other side

I would hope that my friends would encircle me with

Those things that have surrounded me every day.

I would rather my coffin be dotted with wild asters

And mildewed hostas than draped with tropical flowers

Whose journey to my grave is longer than any I have taken.

I want no showy flower heads, with bright orange beaks

All that vulgar beauty

I want no flowers that like some relatives

only show up at funerals.

Perhaps, some beloved seaweed

Spent sea grass.

A tide’s collection of bleached shells.

Maybe, if I pass away in deep autumn

A branch from the holly bush

Its red berries in bloom.

Or maybe, my partner’s favorite flower, not mine

For the gesture is for the living, not the dead.

For the comfort of feeling that one has loved as well as one could.

I would hope that there would be no talk about my soul

Returning to its maker.

I would dream that someone would preach that my soul

Like all others

Joined together many stolen parts.

All my life I have taken measure for my own

Of what I have believed to be

The essence of those I knew and loved.

The kindness of some

The compassion of others

The tenderness they shared

The lives, those ineffable moments we lived.

When they lay me down with pieces of them

Elements of many others

I have the warmth and the beat of their hearts with me.

Published in Befriending Death: Over 100 Essayists on Living and Dying, Michael Vocino and Alfred G. Killilea, Editors. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 5-6.

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About professorenos

I am a professor of sociology and coordinate service-learning and social entrepreneurship work on my campus at Bryant University. This blog brings together academic and creative work.
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