You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. (Matthew 5:4 The Message)
Death springs forth often unexpectedly, yet through Christ, death has lost it’s sting. Today, I have invited Lynn D. Morrissey to share how she uses writing poetry as a means to honor a loved one who has passed on from this life. As I comtemplated her poem, I not only thought of grieving over a person, but also sorrowing over any loss, including seasons of life. Lynn opens with an introduction to her writing process and then we have her poem. (Kel)Here’s Lynn:
When loved ones die, we long to remember—to remember the sheen of her hair and the shine of her eyes, the sway of his gait and the sound of his voice, the lilt of their laughter and the lyrics of their heart.
We think we’ll never forget, but we do. Cherished memories recede like haunting echoes of a faraway loon, like sepia photographs fading with time …
We need a way to remember—to indelibly stamp our beloved’s heart-print onto our own so that we might never forget. And one sure way is with ink, in words. Writing traces whorls and swirls of our soul into patterns of permanence. Writing remembers. Writing honors. Memories penned say, You lived and loved. You laughed and lamented. You mingled and mattered. Scribed remembrances bottle the fragrance, the feelings, the fellowship of relationships that once were, and now always can remain, stored in the heart.
I penned this poem in memory of a friend’s mother upon the first anniversary of her passing. I offered it to him, with love, as a way to say, I honor her, and in so doing, I honor you. Roses were her favorite flower. Surely, their summer fragrance evokes for my friend his mother’s memory now, even in the winter of his grief. Hopefully, too, my words etch her essence, making her soul visible, and remind him of the presence and purposes of the invisible God in life and in death.
Might you consider composing a “roses of remembrance” poem honoring someone you miss or as a gift for someone who has lost a loved one? One form of poetry which is especially meaningful is an alpha poem (abecedarian), which uses a person’s name in bold lettering as a vertical acrostic around which to wrap the body of the poem. I have done this numerous times, and had the poems framed as a special gift. They are always received with emotion and gratitude. You could do the same and offer special comfort to those who need it.
Roses of Remembrance
“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” —Barrie
A year has come and gone,
commemorated with parading autumnal suns
(and those of winter, spring, and summer),
marking the march of unstoppable days.
The spray of crimson roses, long-since frayed atop her stone,
has fleetly decayed like a tatterdemalion scattering of tears, petaling her grave—
vanished, unsettingly, sans trace.
Why must roses languish and die?
Why must their grace, their velvetine voluptuousness
giving sway to decline,
as day gives way to night,
laughter to tears,
melismas to silence?
Why must that which can but delight
take flight like a sudden exultation of larks
beating rapturous wings into darkness,
Why can’t roses endure in Edenic purity—
vivid, redolent, regal in unequaled beauty?
Why must evanescence quell such magnificent efflorescence?
There is no answer but to question, How?
How to live in light of all deaths, little and large,
in light of what we cannot fully comprehend,
but have no choice but to accept?
How to face all endings, their unequivocal inevitability?
How to grasp what eludes, preserve what won’t last?
What’s our charge?
To live largely, lavishly,
cultivating God’s flowers
and souls and hours and minutes minutely,
with open eyes and open arms,
relishing each one,
distilling them to their core,
and when they’re no more . . .
gathering roses of remembrance
—fragrant with love, past; perfuming life, present—
emblems of what never dies: the rose’s essence.
God prunes the bush with death’s sharp shears,
so that there might inevitably be a heavenly, beatific blossoming,
so that Eden might flourish anew,
(Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Lynn D. Morrissey)
Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.
Please feel free to comment to Lynn on this post, as she will be checking comments. We appreciate feedback and your responses to her work.