how to celebrate an ending

four days before her birthday
she drags wood
to the fire-pit,
arranges it over
those old love-letters

she waits until heat
strokes her arms
before she offers this last thing
for burning:

the wedding dress
carefully folded
& dropped
with ritual finality–

a suttee performance piece
but no one’s dead yet.
no witnesses
& the only thing turning to ash
is love gone dry & twisted
as that branch kindling

instead of a bride
burned alive
to accompany an uncaring corpse
it is that dress, that veil
& the feeling in those letters
that will translate into fire, freed

***Don’t know why you did it, NPS, but I had to steal the idea for a poem.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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20 Responses to how to celebrate an ending

  1. How symbolic ~ fascinating

  2. Trent Lewin says:

    Susan, great! I don’t know if this is what you were going for, but I instantly jumped to an image of brides in India, from the past, a really despicable thing where when the husband died, they would throw the wife on the funeral pyre as well. I imagine this is still practiced in some rural areas. I just rereard, don’t think that was the point of your poem – I really enjoyed it.

    • Trent–thanks for the comment. I was suggesting suttee, that horrible practice, but instead of ritual murder, it was the burning of a relationship with no value any more. Was trying, rather clumsily, to suggest a liberation using hints of a terrible, murderous tradition to get it done.

  3. I see a speak out, a symbolic rejection and celebration of the demise of a Harmful traditional practice. Reminds me of my song of Rejoicing!

    • Yes, exactly–and then using a suggestion of that to further liberate oneself (at least symbolically) from something oppressive. Oh–you flatter me–I love that poem–such a gorgeous celebration!

  4. nelle says:

    Nice… and oh my… Adele in my head.

  5. I cried with this~ther a lonesome feel, a sense of invisibility that aches in her… maybe I’m wrong but it pried my soul open!

  6. I find this a very moving piece, curtain closing on a life and another one opening to new possibilities. A beautiful sympolic poem.

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