Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The following poem is probably the most difficult I have written thus far, for two reasons. First and most importantly, it's about the death of a dear friend. The other reason is the form of this poem. It was created by Luke Prater, who's blog is called WordSalad, and can be found here: http://lukepraterswordsalad.com/
The sepcifications for this form are:
14 lines, 14 syllables per line – aBaBcDcDcDeFeF
where lowercase are iambic heptameter (7 units of two syllables each, unstressed-stressed, per line), and uppercase trochaic heptameter(7 units of two syllables each, stressed-unstressed, per line). This yields a perfect ‘checkerboard’ of stressed and unstressed syllables (14 x 14, equalling 196 syllables). Depending on where the Volta arrives (the ‘turn’ – resolution, or at least, change in tone) there are several different stanza layouts, which I will spare you.
So, finally, here is the poem itself:

I’m standing at the vestibule between the here and there;
lately I’ve been spending time among the dead and dying,
so many of the ones I love have stepped through to that lair.
Just last week another left me reminiscing, sighing.

My talk-a-mile-a-minute Angie left so much unsaid.
Cancer ate her breasts, then liver faster than we reckoned;
I never knew, although time flew, how soon she would be dead.

Skin as orange as Betadine, insistent death had beckoned,
But she found peace before she left, she whispered without dread.
Blinking, looking face to face I said, ‘Another second.’

Though I don’t get to choose the time that’s best to come or go
Fifty-four years doesn’t seem like long enough for living;
but which of us can know with certainty what’s apropos?
Kismet chooses for us without caring or forgiving.

This has been linked to One Stop Poetry's One Shot Wednesday. Click on the poem title to go there where you will find a group of talented poets that you can read and/or join.


  1. So sorry to learn your friend has left you Mary. I remember the poem you wrote for her a week or so back. Indeed, 54 years doesn't seem like long enough
    a fine tribute

  2. Wow what a technically complicated work of art! I am always impressed when people describe the structure of their poetry. I have no idea and the most structure I have ever completed was simple Haiku. Other than that I write free verse because it is all I can comprehend. Great job and lovely tribute to your dear friend.

  3. it never seems to be the right time to go...and so much unsaid and unlived...sorry to hear about your friend mary..

  4. Isabel - Thank you. She really was at peace before she went, had all her physical and spiritual stuff in order.
    Kristen - Thanks Kristen. It's other poets online who have encouraged me to try some of this.
    Claudia - Very true, thank you Claudia.

  5. Thank you, for sharing your thoughts on your friend in this challenging form. The hits me right in the heart where my own pain of loss lies.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss!
    I felt the pain in your words and can understand how difficult it must have been to write this one.

    May your friend Rest in Peace!
    You are brave indeed to have written this for her.

    Many hugs xox

  7. heart heavy at the loss...cancer sucks...it has touched my family greatly...always too much left unsaid...

  8. Knightsheart - Thank you, and I'm sorry for your loss.

    Olivia - I appreciate your kind words.

    Brian - amen brother - sorry you have been touched by this too.

  9. death arbitrary
    a court with no evidence
    a judge with no grace


  10. Well said Matt. Thanks for reading, and the hug :o)

  11. So hard to lose a good friend, one way too young. Losses are so hard, and your poem portrayed the inevitability of losses for us all, as we ourselves age.

  12. fabulous words.

    Happy Mother's Day to Moms in your family.

  13. I'm sorry for your loss. It is hard to lose someone dear and close. I believe us writers begin our healing when we can write about it.
    You did the form though. :)