Death

Death long poem

in this December and January
of my 70th year
death has had me
at its beck and call
in a way it never has before

daily

I feel it and know it
every day

I know you know

we all know

it’s complex and rich
as deep and dark
as soil
and the windings
of our dreams

our ever questing
minds

death

I remember when
I never thought of it

when
except for a day or two
each year

I was immune
to death

knew
illogically
in my bones

I would never die

But now death has touched me

a reality
making people to whom I am forever
connected

disappear

my dear sister
at the end of August in 2007

my wonderful and sad daughter
all alone
in mental anguish
finally deadened
at the end of January in 2010

and my father
on Veterans Day 2011
11-11-11

he always felt
it should have been him
and not his brother
who died in 1945

I can imagine his dream
on that early November 11 morning
in his 90th year
remembering his brother
as he drifted towards oblivion

his death I accept

the other two
haunt me
I’ve seen them all
from time to time

sometimes
in dance
or prayer
when I reach out
specifically
to them

they appear

and it’s a wonder
a mystery

how

But now
as I’ve said
death has begun
to capture me too

not merely the mourning
but the certainty

my sadness is as boundless
as earth
and mind
and death

and so it has me
day after day

I shake it off
and do what I decide
I must do
or
want to do

but death
is there
waiting

I have a complex history
with death

Somehow
when he died
out in the far western Pacific
on a carrier on July 17
in 1945

my uncle touched me
came to me in his agony

conceived in January
I was six months
in the womb

that memory lived inside of me
appearing only
as a premonition
when I was 19
“this year, you will die”

I remembered
and forgot
went on living
doing the best I could

judging myself
as inadequate

burdened by the sadness
of knowing what I did not know
I knew

Each year after that
I would at some point
remember
“this year, you will die”
and then forget
and not die

My real growth
as a human
occurring
because of a mental breakdown
several years of hardship
and good honest
work

and then
some years later
the difficult effort
of seeing what was inside me
discovering
trauma
buried
crusted over and exerting
permanent will
poisoning my attitude
towards myself
as a living creature

Recovering that memory
of my uncle’s contact
was the hardest
the first time I remembered
I screamed and screamed
as a machine and blades
cut me to pieces

but it took years
before I understood
what had happened

where that memory
came from

Recovering earlier memories
allowed healing
allowed me to become
human
again

and so I did

Finally, I think it was
when I was 59 or 60
I was lucky to finally understand
my terrifying memory
of the whirling blades

And now in my 70th year
through the end of December
and early January
pushed down into myself
by a bad cold

death has dogged me

I keep it at bay
but it is there
just outside of what I see

my understanding
of how easily
I might lose
those I love most
and of how
inevitably I will
die
or, worse
be tortured by death

This time
the knowledge of what it means
is inside of me
and

I’m ready

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Bill Eberle

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b. October 29, 1945 B.A. Hamilton College 1967 married to Dagney C. Ernest board game designer, programmer, database designer and application developer, photographer, artist, poet, and free-style dancer
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Chand Ashish
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Great memories ….
Great words …..
Death brings to you ……
Your acclaimed worlds ……
You are lucky ….
You know your birds …..
……..
You make sense …..
In dictates of absurd ……

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