Poems about Time, Aging, Death and Loss

These are poems I have written about time, mortality, aging, death and loss.

Thirty
by Michael R. Burch

Thirty crept upon me slowly
with feline caution and a slowly-twitching tail ...
How patiently she waited for the winds to shift!
Now, claws unsheathed, she lies seething to assail
her helpless prey.

***

Modern Charon
by Michael R. Burch

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.

[But before you find yourself beguiled ...
remember, I was just a Palestinian child.]

Czech translation by Václav Z J Pinkava

EPITAF PALESTINSKÉHO DECKA

Život muj živoril, do konce deje.
Pozor kam šlapeš: hrob do šíre zeje.

Turkish translation by Nurgül Yayman

Filistinli bir çocugun mezar yazisi

Something

for the children of the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba

Something inescapable is lost—
lost like a pale vapor curling up into shafts of moonlight,
vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars
immeasurable and void.

Something uncapturable is gone—
gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn,
scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass
and remembrance.

My Songbirds

There is beauty in her.
The way she moves,
Like she’s in a perfect rhythm with the earth.
She hums in sweet sixths with the birds,
While I settle in dissonance,
Lost in the sound.

There is wonder in her;
Her eyes gleam with passion,
and the birds sing, now in thirds.
Meanwhile, I remain in dissonance,
Lost in the sound.

Another Note to God

I cry and break down a lot
I lie and say I'm okay when I'm really not
I reminisce and look at my wrist at all the scars I've got
When you took my mother at 10 months the heartache started
God bless the souls of ALL the dearly departed
Please tell me is my child up there?
You taking her still doesn't seem fair
I get depressed and won't come out for days
God forgive me for my vengeful ways
Daddy beat me I blamed myself
The pills and therapy, I tried to get some help
Ended putting my heart back on the shelf

Stages of Grief

Stages of Grief
by Joan Leotta

 
The first week
My world is spinning
"That's nothing, the world always spins,"
 they tell me.
"They" always know best.
Their world is fixed
on its axis, firm and sure
Mine has lost its axis,
whirling and twirling
out into space,
out of control.
I am oblivious to all but my loss.
 
Three months after
I am quiet
when I used to laugh
Sad
when I used to be pensive
Still awake

Going Home

I left the cemetery that April day
And drove to the old farmhouse
Where I’d grown up.

Dead leaves shattered
As I walked around the house
I hadn’t seen in twenty years
The tree branch that had held the rope swing,
The grassy space by the woods where I’d played…

Still there.

The trees, just beginning to show new leaves
Let more light reach the ground than under summer’s
Dense canopy of green
Broken beer bottles, left by hunters, I guessed, lent sparks of light
To the dried leaves that had piled up for years

Cold Wind

Many years ago, this day,
As lingering clouds
Brought out the morning rays,
I heard the east wind drown
In the sound of the ocean spray.
 
She came in nightly
On a foaming swell,
Lady floating lightly
On a seaborne shell.
 
“Oh bury me not
In the deep blue sea;
Oh bury me not
Where the cold wind flees.”
 
I carried her home
For miles and miles . . .
If only I’d known
It was just for a while.
 
The words unsaid, undone—
Gone before our time had run.
 

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