bereavement (2 short poems)

We have a word
for loss:
a formal time to reel inside grief:


More civilized
than burlap
and ashes in the hair

it never gets old
though we grow used to it,
spooning skeletons in the closet:
feeding peanuts
to the elephant in the room,
fattening what no-one else sees.

a florist ad suggests
we say it with flowers.

so I tell this loss
with thistle language,
stinging nettles
and nightshade

wear it wreathed,
around my neck.

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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37 Responses to bereavement (2 short poems)

  1. annotating60 says:

    Susan, These are beautiful. You didn’t tell me if you got my mail? >KB

    • Oh, yes–I have it! Thank you, by the way. I am saving yours for later–when I am not in a mood like this one. That tight little rhymed exercise, plus my sister’s birthday today, spawned these.

  2. yeoldefoole says:

    Damn! These are both great – but the 2nd one especially just floors me!
    (holding iPhone Bic lighter app over my head…)

  3. yeoldefoole says:

    Damn! These are both great – but the 2nd one especially just floors me!
    (holding iPhone Bic lighter app over my head…)

  4. George Ellington says:

    Powerfully and beautifully written, Susan. And keenly felt.

    • George, thank you. Had to do it–these were a reaction to trying out a terza rima, which I wrote about my sister’s birthday.

      Personally, I really like the idea of spooning skeletons in the closet and feeding peanuts to that damned elephant. Can I get away with cliches when I use them that way?

      • George Ellington says:

        Oh, you do more than get away with them, Susan. I cannot say that anything I have read from you has struck me as a cliche. On the contrary, I read many verses in our community, but I find that there are a few–like you–whose words can caress my heart and reflect my soul as if they were my very own. On my new blog, I have added a page of “Inspiration” to express a permanent “thank you” for all that you and Mari and Pawan and several others have done to inspire me. I am very glad you are here.

        • Oh, George, you are so very kind. I have to change the notifications I get on your new blog, as your wonderful words are getting lost in my reader. I am so glad you are here too, George. Your poetry is wonderful, and your friendship is priceless.

  5. John Stevens says:

    These are fine poems (although I see them as one): thoughtful as well as emotional, reticent as much as frank. I’m glad I came across them.

    • John, thank you! I think I see it as a poem in two parts, they are so intimately twined. I separated them because the mood or tone shifted so quickly. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Powerfully moving, Susan. So sorry for your loss

  7. BroadBlogs says:

    Both of these poems are beautiful. I especially like the second.

  8. one two punch and you knocked me out

  9. Alice Keys says:

    Susan, You do grief so very well. Say “it” with flowers. Yes. And not those balls of mums, baby’s breath and roses, either. Alice

  10. ruleofstupid says:

    I seem to be with the majority (something which I hate!) in that No.2 is a great piece. I’ve missed the poetry, jousts and collabs. Maybe I’ll find time to nip to IP – is it still going?

    • Thank you, Mike! I like #2, as well (no, not the poo, the actual numeral). IP is deathly quiet, but Miriam and I each wrote a line today on her patchwork poetry, after we knew you were alive. IP misses half its soul–YOU.

      • ruleofstupid says:

        That’s very sweet of you, but I think I was just more bullying than others!
        It’s a shame about IP, such a good idea.
        One thing I’ve done is buy a WordPress site for my work. When things quieten I will look at better ways to do IP.
        In the full WP you can have ‘live chats’ and stuff which might make the idea fly better. Still, for now, I must focus on the boring real world.

  11. jeglatter says:

    its been all about loss over here and so tired of those stages of grief we work through–I crave new paradigm and new metaphor for loss and like both of these so much. your brain is the best.:)

  12. Exquisite Sus and yes # 2 touched my beaty-thing 🙂 xx

  13. I can clutch both and cry.

  14. Patricia Chenayi Nyandoro says:

    So beautiful said and so true. we do spoon skeleton in the closet and feed giant in out minds after the loss of a loved one.. You are a true inspiration ♡

  15. wow –> “so I tell this loss
    with thistle language,”

  16. Pingback: bereavement (2 short poems) | Susan Daniels Poetry | At My Grave

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