“I’ve spent a lifetime
trying to learn the language of the dead”

Jim Harrison

what a foolish paradox!
the first thing I learned was never to speak
to the other side, to those who have passed over
their language is dumber than silence
ours is the cry of the night
it is enough that love transcends, that the imprints
they made in our flesh remain with us
to re-call the dear departed is to ply them with woe
tearing at the veil of separation – it is unfair

at the charnel house, waiting on Resurrection day
they have not gathered to pick bones with charlatans
and the massed memories scattered over years and yards
of consecrated ground, can never recollect
thus we ceremoniously burn bridges in cemetery and pyre
or sever mortal bondage with scarifying beak and talon
for in this one last act of human kindness
– we let them go – with God – adieu!

Joining with Jilly’s pick of Jim Harrison prompts for Day 15 of 28 Days of Unreason

13 Comments on “Adiós

  1. The imprint they made on our flesh!! Feel that one. And that final act of human kindness – this is both beautiful and tough – like life and death.


  2. The voice of healthy reason… so few heed. I have sat in a room and listened as one related the visits… nightly visits (apparently the dead’s days are booked). I wish this was an isolated event in my experience.

    “at the charnel house, waiting on Resurrection day
    they have not gathered to pick bones with charlatans…”

    I felt this couplet. Long story, but it touched something from my past. Your poem is deeply considered and craftily worded.


  3. I was waiting for someone to knock this theory on its head….. and you did with a mighty hammer! You’ve shaken up my musings….and reminded me of a quote..”let the dead bury the dead”.
    There’s perfection in your words👍🏽


  4. This like a great wave – a surfer’s wave. And finally the moment comes to catch it and go. You are in flow, Laura.


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