Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ashes and Bone

Ashes and Bone

When I am gone,

Put me to the fire;

Ashes and bone

Are all that I desire

Be left of me.

Let me have

Fair wind to sift me

Through the trees;

Grey amidst the green

Is what I long to be.

Find me in the field,

A rustle of the grass,

Or hollow in the hills;

Beside the garden path,

I’ll sing among the reeds.

Put me to the fire,

Share me with the day;

Let my spark inspire

New green among the grey

From all that’s left of me.


  1. This is one of your very best, Karen. I am of the same mind entirely.

    I think my favourite lines were the inverted grey/green green/grey.

    This is one that will remain in mind for certain.


  2. Karen- this is really beautiful. simply so.
    not sure what comes after this flesh party but riding the wind sounds nice. I'm posting tomorrow about this very subject but mine ain't near so pretty. me being me. Take care~rick

  3. Exquisitely done! I could feel the wind running through me, reading this, and feel myself wanting to hold onto life-- not yet ready to go there, to become ashes and bone.

  4. Beautiful, Karen. "I'll sing among the reeds" brought tears to my eyes.

  5. Oh! Fine poem! Beautiful imagery and rhythm. I wanted to tell you, also, that I am so thankful you were there for your granddaughter, with that Heimlich, as you told me in your comment on my post. I had no idea it took so many thrusts. One of the bloggers told me now that I've seen it, I better be prepared to do it. I'm grateful you've had your own miracle.

  6. Kat - Thank you. I think we are kindred spirits.

    Rick - I look forward to your take on this, as always.

    Rachel - Not too soon, I hope! Yes, there is that hold, too.

    Sandra - Your comment made me go back and read my own work and then I, too, had tears at that point. Thank you. It really helps to see our work as someone else sees it.

    Chris - Thank you, and yes, thanks be for that miracle.

  7. Oh Karen ~ this one resonated mother and I just had the "talk" about her being cremated when her time comes.

  8. I'm letting everything I read today inspire me for the novel I'm going to write in the month of November, (as if I didn't have enough going on, I'm also doing NaNoWriMo). But I digress, this is the perfect poem for Dia de Los Muertos Karen. The image is spectacular, and the poem is like that spirit light coming through the branches. There's going to be a cremation in my novel actually, and so this is, as I knew it would be some how, completely inspiring. In fact, I just got chills realizing how. I needed this synchronicity and I knew I'd find it in you. Gorgeous poem, and I feel the same way.

  9. This is so beautiful, Karen. Thank you for sharing it. Love & Blessings...

  10. Yes, Dear Karen, "Ashes and Bone" ...We who choose to live the passion and the fire, who allow the winds of change their fervent call. A bequest no longer secret...

  11. Dear Karen,

    For some reason your poem has echoes of
    a Native American chant. This seeps into ones
    bones. Ashes and bone, yes, visceral.


  12. Yes, I agree with Cat. This is a gorgeous poem!

  13. Your poem sent shivers through me. I'm working on a piece about death, more prose than poetry. It's good to read such wonderful lines written so far away.

  14. Oh I lovved the lines:

    "Let my spark inspire
    New green among the grey"

    They've stuck with me for an hr before I got a chance to comment here.

  15. That was a moving piece of writing, thanks for sharing.

  16. Your poem expresses such a suble sense of tranquility Karen, taking away all fear of death.

    Just beautiful...

  17. The grey among the green is a beautiful image, as is the sifting; lovely poem!

  18. This had the same feel to me of Rupert Brooke's soldier, you capture the poignant nostalgia beautifully.

  19. Not only is the poem absolutely beautiful, it makes me think of personal things. Like why certain family members were shocked when another family member decided on cremation. I guess it's hard to teach old dogs new tricks, but everybody adjusted. Now I think of that person floating with the ocean. It makes me want to cry, but at the same time, it is so beautiful.

    Stanza three is absolutely fantastic. "A rustle in the grass" and "I'll sing among the reeds" are my favorite lines. Well, shoot. How stupid of me to pick favorite lines. I just read it again, and I love "new green among the grey."

    I also love how the rhythm in the peace feels like wind blowing. And again, it has a wonderful voice. So beautiful.

  20. What's left to say!
    In accord with the above: lovely writing, hypnotic and meaningful.
    I loved the third stanza too.

  21. Cherie - Be grateful you can have that talk and not have to wonder later what she would want. That, in itself, is a blessing.

    Cat - So glad to be of service! he, he! I can't believe you're doing NaNoWriMo! How on earth can you find the time? Well, if anyone can do it, I know you can. I look forward to hearing about it when you're finished. Until then, I can't imagine you'll find much time to squeeze in updates. Or then, I'm talking to Cat, so anything's possible! ;-)

    Marion - Thanks, friend. I read your comment on Rick's blog and it made me so sad. I'm sending good vibes your way.

    RoseMarie - Thank you!

    Marie - Thank you. I appreciate your comment and am quite flattered by it.

    Rick - Thank you. I've read some of your work, so I am honored by your comment.

    Elisabeth - Thanks for coming so far! I'll stop by to see your work very soon.

    Aniket - Thank you, as always, my friend.

    Glynis - Welcome back, and thanks.

    Margaret - Thank you. I'm glad you're back safe and sound!

    John - Thank you; I'm gratified by your comment.

    Sarah - I haven't read that poem for years, but I remember the first few lines and always loved them for the depth of feeling they share about his home. Thank you first reminding me of that lovely poem and next for saying that in any small way this one reminded you of that one. :-)

    Julie - I know exactly what you mean about the expected outcomes and how families can react when they don't get them. My 83 year old uncle donated his body to the local medical school. It wasn't easy on the family, but I think it was a selfless and wonderful act.

    Recently, a friend passed away suddenly. He was my contemporary, and his death made me realize that it isn't so unusual for people of my age to make their exits.

    Both of these deaths, coming one after the other, caused the beginning of this poem to sprout in my brain.

    Sorry about that. You didn't ask for the backstory! I should just learn to say thanks.
    So, thanks, Julie. Truly. :-)

    Titus - Thank you, too, for reading and for your very kind comments.

  22. You have written my very own heart here and my wishes. Lovely distinctive style, lending itself so readily to the notions of the poem. Why wouldn't anyone want to be sifted through the trees and rustle through the grass...or mix with the garden flowers where they grow. You have said it so well.

    Let my spark inspire
    New green among the grey
    From all that’s left of me

    Fanatastic thoughts and imagery - a real work of art.

  23. A nice quiet use of rhyme and great imagery, but I particularly admire the straightforward order of the first two lines. Do this. No discussion. And then the nice repetition of half the sentence, in case it has slipped our minds.

  24. "Put me to the fire,
    Share me with the day;"

    it strikes me that there is no better way to discern a life well-lived than a death as fearless and free as this. and no better legacy. it is soaring.

  25. this is just wonderful, Karen.
    thank you.

  26. Hi Karen,

    Thanks for your recent comment on my recent Bolts of Silk poem. From that I've found your blog and am now a follower. I love this poem - it sent a real shiver of delight through me!

  27. Kaye - Why am I not surprised that you feel the same? Thanks for your kind words; they have encouraged me more than you know.

    Thanks, Mairi - I guess I got a little "bossy" there! At least they won't mistake my intentions! ;-)

    joaquin - What a lovely comment (and compliment)! Thank you!

    Thanks, SzelsoFa!

    Simon - Welcome, and thanks for coming here from Bolts of Silk. I really enjoyed your poem there and intend to find your blog, as well. Thank you for your comment on this one, and I look forward to getting to know you through our work.

  28. Aye put my bier on the viking boat and set my sail to the far off place, fire the flaming arrow and watch me burn. The Valkyrie will know whether I was warrior or not and the ashes will fly across waves of water.

  29. Beautiful in its rhyme. I hope the wind would carry your smoke to every place you ever wanted to be.

  30. Walking Man - I can see this for you!

    Jason - Thank you - and I like the word "smoke", too. I'm thinking "ashes and smoke"? Always revising...

  31. It almost sounds like a troubadour song, "Timor Mortis Conturbat Me" or something, with the hints of repetition and the soft, beautiful theme. Very nice. :)

  32. Karen,
    Your comment on my Nov. 4 blog made me want to email you but I can't find an email address for you. I wanted to respond to your thoughts. Just know I'm glad that you're not sitting in FEAR but going forth, brave woman that you are.

  33. Thanks, Joseph!

    Chris - Not to worry, but thanks for your concern. I'm working on it.

  34. This beautiful writing of yours, Karen, gave me goose bumps. It was if it were written for me. This could be my wish...and I adored your use of grey and green, as these are my two favourite colours and your words, just stunning!

    Calli xo

  35. Thanks, Calli! Coming from an artist, your words mean a great deal to me, because I know you visualize what you read. Thank you for always being so supportive.

  36. This is beautiful, Karen. And a harsh subject... but the grey and the green, that's something of outstanding beuty.