Monday, April 9, 2012

Tuesday Poem--Last Things by Melissa Green

It passeth understanding, but the light will go. At the bedside, Memory will
rise, pure as an abbess, and escort her flesh and blood from the room. None
will look back, for they have already forgotten you. The abyss like a nurse
will press a gauze on your eyes to quench them, and they will be quenched. 
The bones that faithfully held you will be dismantled, surrender to sleep. 
Skin that was so sweet in life to kiss will unwrap its parchment cocoon, 
weightless as a spider’s gossamer the slightest breath of air will blow away. 
The ear’s tympanum by an angel’s whisper will eternally be sealed with wax.
The lips, having lost all its words, will fall open, unsewn, your very name 
now only a chimera. Somewhere the earth is waiting, holding its breath.
Will your beliefs buoy you on clouds? Your incandescent essence find the place
in a galaxy of stars in which to joyfully merge? What if the heart still fights
for one more minute, one more glimpse of day, and the self, the final priceless spark, 
which is laboring so hard not to be extinguished, is forever put out, put out


Don't forget to click on the Tuesday Poem quill link above in order to read
the beautiful birthday poem that is evolving in order to celebrate our second
year--poets from all over the world are adding line by line to this endeavor,
rather the way a gorgeous coral reef is made.


  1. Not an easy, or comfortable, topic and how will we ever make peace with it without allowing it in? This feels like a dance, a dream sequence as they showed them in 1950s musicals. I think the phrase lovely discomfort describes my reaction. xo

  2. Powerful . . . discomfiting . . . unnerving . . . but sooo brilliantly crafted, a cascade of gaspingly good images. Congratulations.

  3. Dear Marylinn, I was well aware that this would be a difficult poem for readers to follow right to the end, but that's exactly right--how will we ever make peace with it without allowing it in? In order to live, and stay in life, we have to pretend it isn't an inevitability, and facing it is so very difficult. If the poem is discomfiting to read, it was discomfiting to write, but I had to write it, so I did. xo

  4. Dear Tim, yes, the subject matter speaks to our deepest fears, but we all have to face it sooner or later--I'm glad it didn't scare you off--and that you found beauty in the images.

  5. This is such a brave and beautiful unwrapping of a process that is inevitable and real, and such a part of Life. The passing of the light here is so finely tuned -- the steps which each follow the other, line by line, from Memory standing as an abbess to the very last attempted glimpse of the day. I will come back to this. It's an impressive and beautiful thing. I do not find it uncomfortable, by the way. I like the real in it. I like the glimpses, however fleeting and swift. I like that you've put into words something that is so very hard to capture. Amazing, really.

  6. Dear Michelle, I'm so glad you came to my blog and wrote so passionately about 'Last Things". Delighted you are here. This isn't a poem for everyone. I think it has put a lot of readers off, but I'm so very glad you stayed to read it all the way through.

    I immediately went to "Glow Worm' and was knocked out by the depth and breadth and simply overwhelming erudition, acquaintance and understanding you have of so many poets and visual artists, and your own poems are intriguing as well.

    I tried to leave a comment--in fact left paragraphs--but WordPress didn't recognize Blogger, or I erred somewhere and my response was blasted into the stratosphere. Is there some way I can be allowed to leave you comments? Do you have Followers, as Blogger does? I'm not on Facebook and can't make sense of Twitter, but I'd like very much to begin a dialogue in the air with you.

    1. Dear Melissa -- I have come back to this several times but have only tonight seen your wonderful reply to my comment. This piece still moves me so. It lingers. And yes, I'd be most happy to begin a dialogue. I suspect we might have things to say... I don't know what happened at Glow Worm -- I will check and make sure it accepts comments. Meanwhile, you can email me if you'd like: michelle[dot]elvy@gmail[dot]com

      Thank you!

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  8. Thank you, John. I hope you have been well.

  9. "Somewhere the earth is waiting, holding its breath." This hit home, Melissa, having lost one of my best friends two weeks ago tomorrow. The self extinguished is the hardest part for me to imagine. Extinguished. It's what we deny, as if we will escape being put out.

    This is a marvelous poem. And I particularly like the "What if" of the last sentence.

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  11. Dear Melissa, this poem is unflinching, powerful, masterful. Thank you for bringing it to Tuesday Poem with all the other gifts you bring, and thank you for your support of our community, especially the two of us, over the past two years. Happy Birthday Tuesday Poem and happy birthday you! Mary & Claire.

  12. Dear Jayne, I was so sorry to read about the loss of your friend. She must have been so loved--so deeply awake to life as she was. Yes, it's what we all deny, the extinguishing--some part of us, though knowing otherwise, can't believe it could possibly be true--how could we--WE--be put out? Thank you for taking the time to write here, at this poem, Jayne--generous in spite of your sorrow.

  13. John, yes, Austin Clarke is someone I used to know well. It must be the Irish in me that makes me be able to use internal rhyme, assonance and alliteration so often! I'm glad you were inspired by this poem, and that it comforted you too--I wasn't expecting that from anyone, but am pleased that it soothed you.

  14. Mary, dear, thank you for everything, and you are most welcome. xo