We did him no favors, keeping him alive beyond his time. All alone, now, safe from any germ or poison or dirt or grass or fresh, cold air and sun of an autumn morning, rays of light that caress, not treetops, now, but barren ground. It would be a kindness if keepers let him sleep one last time and let him never wake again. Or join him in that cage of glass that keeps him far away and yet so near to gentle touches, fingers running through his fur. Whisper sweet words of not-aloneness in his ear. The last animal on Earth that is not human lies dying. Do not let him die alone.
My education during bereavement counseling included literature addressing nonfinite grief. Again, I am grateful for tools to cope with losses that cannot be measured, limited, prevented, or lived without continuing sorrow. Illimitable loss.
I am not certain that I am looking toward the new year with joy, but I feel as though I’ve worn out this one (and the last) quite thoroughly. Or, they’ve worn me out. A bright spot in my life was the on-line Introduction to Japanese Poetry workshop I attended, which covered writing/understanding haiku and tanka, each form getting two weeks of study and practice. Quite involving!
The second bright spot that stands out is the bereavement counseling from the local hospice organization. Stimulating discussions with several counselors and new thoughts to think about life and death, loss and revelations. Two books stood out for me. The first is a book of poem by Barbara Crow: Coming Up for Light and Air, which title I came across and then searched out from independent sellers of second-hand books. I got an autographed copy, and also two other used copies, one of which I gave to my first HRRV bereavement counselor. The second is Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society: Bridging Research and Practice (Taylor & Francis, June 2011); in particular, the article “Giving Voice to Nonfinite Loss and Grief in Bereavement”, by C.L. Schultz and D.L. Harris. As one approaches old age, nonfinite loss is surely a factor in quality of life.
The third bright spot that stands out, other than having made contact with cousins at an aunt’s funeral (although I did not think to ask for USPS contact information or email addresses). I did find another of the cousins who live on the West Coast on Facebook.
And this year included not one, but two poem-a-day challenges with the same group of people. I participated in both NaPoWriMo in April and a write-along during NaNoWriMo (November). I held back some of the poems from my Quiet Spaces Journal for reworking, and also for submission someplace, if they turn out the way I hope.
My favorite, I think, from the 30+ poems that I wrote, last month, is from Day 10:
fiery blanket of light
a sea of stars
broad enough to span a life
deep enough to hide within
On 18 June 2015, Reuters published an article by David Auerbach, “A child born today may live to see humanity’s end, unless…”, discussing the statement by the late Frank Fenner, a microbiologist, that humans will be extinct in a hundred years due to “overcrowding, denuded resources and climate change.” This raises a perhaps frivolous question, but perhaps relevant if Frank Fenner’s thoughts reflect our true future.
as the hourglass runs out, no one left
to turn it over, will poets find they write for
others, immortality or their own heart’s ease