Hakuin - Death

Poems from the 2016 New Year Death Poem Workshop

I call to you, throwing across the silk skein of this life.
If you hear me, what is it I am saying?

There is just this sense of now this, now that.
In, out
Now this, now . . .

So far now beyond connection, what is love?
Alive, it is the only action possible.
I have held my grandson close and told him the story of Stone Soup.
He won?t mind if now, crossing over, I tuck it in my pocket
A stone for good luck.

- Jude


For seventy seven years I have held this Barton thing together. going this way and that in search of the truth.
Now it disperses into ten thousand things.
Each one of them is true.


Of course I’d like to enter the grand feast in my finest form,
to be as luscious and beautiful as all
I have feasted upon in 77 adventurous years,
But it’s too late for that.

Now I approach the table dry and stringy,
with brittle old bones.
I hope there will be lots of butter.
And garlic.

- Myozen


this first week of January
so filled
with the embrace of life and death
the sweetness and the melancholy
twenty years brings
a clarity and softness
a knowing that sometimes
death lives stronger
in the present

and, what would Christmas be without Grandpa’s cheese


I think the journey begins long before the final sigh
in small and large ways
I don’t want to miss any of it
wake me if I fall asleep

- Cindy


I bathe in the many
joys and sorrows
of my life.
As the water flows
From under my feet

- Carolyn


Dearest of my dearest, in this
sweet, tart life, in this
jumbled tiger-eyed time,
does true love die?
Does apple crisp
and bee stings
and this now lonely planet
of my heart
stop its orbit?
Will you meet me
at the flowering cherry tree?


Storm rages,
moon sets,
a galaxy of clouds now
You, heart of
my heart,
leaning over,
breath here
breath gone
breath here
breath gone
O’ lovely, O’ love, O

- Lisa


This feast
of experience, of sensation
of love, of loss -
May it be of benefit
May it be of benefit.

Sometimes, when you can
take a moment to feel
my arms around you

I’ll be right here
I’m right here

- Dojin


Ready? Ready? Ready? Ready?
Dear ones, will you be here with me?
Dear ones, I will be here with you
Until I finally count to ten,
“Ready or not, here I come!”

For all the words,
a last word,
Or maybe just a period, or a question mark,
dot dot dot
open parentheses

Intimate companion
How will you scatter the dust
Of the days and nights of this life
This heart, flesh, bones, marrow?

- Korin