Elegy

We avoid the
word death.  Darkened by
deceptions, we turn
away, close our eyes
We are told to cheer
up, as if emotions could be denied,
as if getting over was simply done.

We avoid the
word death.  The wheel turns,
but not always towards
the light.  Don’t tell us
that time will heal
the scars, that everything will be all right.
We must remember—all the names—now gone. 

For earthweal, where the theme is All Souls.

I did this collage for one of Jane’s prompts last year, but I think it works as well with this poem.

42 thoughts on “Elegy

  1. Yes, people are uncomfortable with death and grief………I love that quote that grief is where we put the love for the one we lost. We honour them by remembering. A beautiful poem – and art, as always. Your work is wonderful.

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  2. yes, and on a side-note, I just want to say how much I like your approach to photographing the original collage, incorporating the shadows and light-play at source to further vivify the image and underscore the theme.

    Like

  3. You’re so right with this one. We can’t accept that sadness or grief is here to stay. Cheer up, time’s a great healer, you’ll get over it etc etc. I bet ancient people knew that grieving was part of life and ever-present, when your baby was more likely to die than to live, that if you were a woman you were most likely going to die in pregnancy, childbirth or as a result of it. They had to face death on a daily basis. Can’t imagine them telling one another, chin up, you’ll get over it.

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    1. I don’t know about ancient people, but later they were told it’s God’s will. And I’ve read letters and such of women who were trying to make sense of that while grieving. But of course, women who weren’t literate, or who couldn’t afford paper, ink, candles, etc. couldn’t pour their grief out on a page.
      And mourning rituals that we don’t have now were probably helpful.

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      1. “God’s will”–just another way of imposing a hierarchy of control and suffering. I do think you are right about ritual though–we’ve lost so much of our communal ways to acknowledge both life and death.

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      2. The number of times I’ve heard that pious excuse—it’s God’s will —after earthquakes, wars, child murders etc etc. It’s a way of denying grief. ‘You have no business wailing, it was God’s will’. Sad.

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      1. Pregnancy is another emotive state that has been pushed into the ‘we don’t talk about that’ status apparently. Another example of where the new feminists have lost the plot, because they have chosen to pretend that men and women are the same as well as equal, and having a baby is, well, it’s nothing to do with being a woman, is it?

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    1. Thanks Merril. Yes I was also thinking of collective mourning and how it might not only serve as a source of unity but help keep us from repeating the same destructive behavior over and over.

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  4. Yes. Hearing “Time will heal you” is about as helpful as everyone who says “Our thought and prayers are with you” to the family and other survivors of mass shootings. Words, words, words.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An elegy is a form of welcome, holding the door to death open, refusing to shut it so fast, and learning its courses as one does a dark city. Because death too is citizen of this life … Love the collages.

    Liked by 1 person

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