But Not Forgotten

No one fell asleep eternally
Passed on – they died.
And we who stay to wave them off
Should let them go – with God

Lets keep the names
Lest they look back
And feet forget their going

“Be on your way”
that’s all there is to say

I wanted to shorten a poem I wrote some years ago, and De's 44 word quadrille prompt is just what I need to: Go

40 thoughts on “But Not Forgotten

  1. I don’t like euphemisms for death either. It’s become taboo which is kind of ridiculous considering there would be no life without it!

  2. This is hard-hitting and poignant! 💝 There have been many euphemisms for death over the passage of time in different cultures .. and though it’s meant to be mild and indirect .. I can’t help but wonder if it is enough? I believe in the power of healing hugs, comfortable silence and offering of support (be it moral or otherwise) rather than words. 💝

  3. The euphimisms are endless…I’ve heard “he’s fallen off the perch”! Intriguing poem that left me smiling.

  4. The hook of the first line, and knowing that there is moving forward. I like the way you approached the word “go” and elevated it. Cheers!

  5. You are so right about the euphemisms. When someone dies, they’re gone. They do not live on, though the memory of them might.

  6. “Lest they look back/And feet forget their going” sounds ominous, as if those better off “gone” could change their minds.

  7. I like what you did with the title, Laura. There are no other words for death, we must all come to terms with it, no matter how painful. I wonder if that’s what ghosts are, the ones whose name were spoken, whose feet forgot their going.

    1. thanks for the feedback Kim – certainly that is what the Tibetans and other cultures believe – immediately after death the dead wish to return and hence we encourage them to go forward not back!

  8. I profoundly love the poem, Laura, and I have mixed feelings about the message… need we keep their names unspoken? I’m not sure that would be healing for me.


    1. thank you David – The Talmud tells us that the soul of a person mourns over its own body for seven days as well and the poem means we should not call on/back the immediate dead but speak about them certainly. My own grief has been softned when I do and the bereaved often complain that no one refers to the one they have lost and that hurts.

  9. Oh, those first few minutes / hours / days. But gone is gone, eh? Let it be.
    Very effective work, this. Well done, LB.

  10. I so like this, particularly the broken lines – ‘Should let them go – with God / Adieu!’; The cliches at the beginning – corrected – again with a broken line – “Passed on – they died.’ Here’s poet as truth-teller – (though maybe hesitating a little). And in the second stanza the hamlet-like twist – but if we say their names… they might forget…and then what? And the final couplet – truth teller again. There’s really nothing more to say about death – but for the hopeful title. Such a lot packed into these scant 44.

    1. I’m overwhelmed by your analysis Peter even down to seeing the title and I really appreciate that you did not get side tracked by subject matter. The poem was once longer but it is better in this quadrilled form. After all, the moment of death is not long winded!

  11. My friend just lost her son and there’s no going back to the way things were. To let go is a difficult process…

  12. This is a very fine job revision for this quadrille. It’s not easy to extract the essence of a longer poem. Nicely done.

  13. There’s certainly no softer name for death, Laura.

    And thanks to your poem and the ideas you’ve shared surrounding its creation, I’ve learnt a lot.

    Yours was a beautiful take.

    p.s: Could I have access to the poem you chose to shorten?

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