Death, or: Beyondering

A golden shovel in blank verse


I donโ€™t know what happens after death but Iโ€™ll have to chance it.

Desert Snow, Jim Harrison (1937 โ€“ 2016)
Left alone to my own devices, I
oft ponder beyondering, though I don't
dare wander past the edges of we-know
before twilight. O, Sun, I wonder what,
while watching you fade away, what happens
~ in the perpetual darkness after,
though even you haven't seen your own death.
None will be for your final flickers, but
a handful shall heap grief whe(r/n)ever I'll
no-longer, marking time, as bodies have
since first being. So, while you'll return to
dawn again, I won't be watching, my chance
a once-dream, like my father's before it.

d’Verse poetics prompt

Songs of Unreason

At d’Verse, poets were encouraged to pick one of the following eight lines of poet Jim Harrison’s and use it as an epigraph for a poem inspired by that line (poems may be written in any form):

  1. โ€œThere is a human wildness held beneath the skin.โ€ – Arts, Jim Harrison
  2. โ€œHe went to sea in a thimble of poetry.โ€ – Poet Warning, Jim Harrison
  3. โ€œIn truth each day is a universe in which we are tangled in the light of stars.โ€ – Horses, Jim Harrison
  4. โ€œI donโ€™t know what happens after death but Iโ€™ll have to chance it.โ€ – Desert Snow, Jim Harrison
  5. โ€œYes, in the predawn black the slim slip of the waning moon.โ€ – Remote Friends, Jim Harrison
  6. โ€œSome days in March are dark and some altogether glittery and loud with birds.โ€ – March in Patagonia, AZ, Jim Harrison
  7. โ€œWeโ€™re doubtless as old as our mothers, thousands of generations waiting for the sunlight.โ€ – Sunlight, Jim Harrison
  8. โ€œAfter last nightโ€™s storm the tulip petals are strewn across the patio where they mortally fluttered.โ€ – Church, Jim Harrison

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

66 thoughts on “Death, or: Beyondering”

  1. Amazing what you have done with this form. ‘I/ oft ponder beyondering’ – this is a line I will have in my head for a while I think. โค

  2. A dear blog friend/poet’s daughter .. only 27 .. passed away after a long, courageous battle with an intractable illness. I believe angels surrounded her, carried her gently .. peaceful at last.

  3. I don’t want to comment. I just want to sit with this excellent poem a while.

  4. Indeed a mystery for us at this side of life. I love how you weaved the quote in your end line verses – golden shovel form.

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