About the Dead Woman Who Listens


Winter shadows. Morning light in St. Mary's Vi...

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Submitted to Big Tent Poetry. This weeks prompt is to write a Dead Man Poem in the style of Marvin Bell. I encourage you to check out Big Tent Poetry for more information on this form: http://bigtentpoetry.org  I confess that I had to wait to read the other fine submissions before venturing into the point of view of the dead. Once I got there, I enjoyed the process and want to thank the other participants for their fine poetry.

About the Dead Woman Who Listens

The woman, dead, listens,
hears the sounds of falling
snow on marble or is it
alabaster? She cannot
recall the stone she chose,
cold, pure, unforgiving to
assaults of elements, to
words accusatory or de-
riding. Impervious is she
to all of these as she lies
wondering why they bother
to pretend to care. She thinks
it true, has heard that it
was fact, that once she settles in
this state of inconvenient
silence she might return a
time or two, conclude unfinished
business in a random dream.

More About the Dead Woman Who Listens

The dead woman listens to
the sounds of sighing wind,
stirs within her tomb (or
soul?) aware of changing forces
without knowing sources of
relentless stirrings, questions
left unanswered in the wandering
of her lifetime’s progress through
uncertainty. She washes in the
river she once knew, loosens the
detritus of the wasted years and
wonders if the others understand
futility. Her journey takes her
onward to another lifetime.
Left behind—the useless
messages. New regrets and fears
will challenge her return.

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21 thoughts on “About the Dead Woman Who Listens

  1. lmcgregor says:

    Lvely imagery, cleverly insinuated and with complicated ideas written in a understandable form. Fantastic.

    Like

  2. James says:

    I like the image of the dead woman lying there basically thinking about getting up… continuing the journey. Nice imagery throughout.

    Like

  3. Tilly Bud says:

    ‘left behind – the useless messages’ – something about that line is quite stirring, at odds with the melancholy. I like what you did here.

    Like

  4. Jingle says:

    Happy Sunday!

    Like

  5. Deb says:

    The idea that death is an “inconvenient/ silence ” runs strong in your poem. Thanks for writing with us this week.

    Like

  6. Irene says:

    Very strong ending Victoria,

    She washes in the
    river she once knew, loosens the
    detritus of the wasted years and
    wonders if the others understand
    futility. Her journey takes her
    onward to another lifetime.
    Left behind—the useless
    messages. New regrets and fears
    will challenge her return.

    Like

  7. pamela says:

    Done to form perfectly.
    Pamela

    Like

  8. Quite lovely…and odd that mine was also about a dead woman listening…you did a much better job!

    Like

  9. Something I’ve noticed in reading the Dead Man poems are that a lot of them deal in uncertainties and possibilities, maybe because by definition the form requires writing two sides of a coin. You did an excellent job of taking a simple action and presenting it in two completely different, but also eerily similar, and both wonderfully abstract, ways.

    Like

  10. YAY! You wrote it, you wrote it!

    I especially enjoyed these lines:

    >>>>
    She washes in the
    river she once knew, loosens the
    detritus of the wasted years and
    wonders if the others understand
    futility.
    >>>>

    Like

  11. Bodhirose says:

    I must admit I am fascinated with the idea of death and wonder just where “we” are when we no longer are in these cumbersome bodies.

    And yes, may have to return to conclude a thing or two. Loved this Victoria. Thanks for these perceptions of a dead woman.

    Like

  12. Linda says:

    The silence is palpable. Beautiful and evocative.

    Like

  13. Bill Sigler says:

    Thanks for the link to Marvin Bell – a name I hadn’t read. I’m slowly “warming up” to the dead man’s poems (I like his earlier stuff a little better). You did a good job trying to get into the spirit of something years (if not centuries) in the incubation. I might try my hand at one of these, too.

    Like

  14. i like this phrase/question a lot: “stirs within her tomb (or / soul?)”!

    Like

  15. 1sojournal says:

    Your poem is very evocative. I could feel the drift of deepening sleep, and hear the snow falling. Wonderful detailed imagery and lessons to be learned. Very satisfying read,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  16. Tumblewords says:

    The final line fits so well. The tumble through life is surely full of paradoxes. Fine poem!

    Like

  17. How odd that we both examine the same subject today. Thank you for this. It is quite lovely and has lessons layered in it. Nice!

    Thanks for the info on Big Tent Poetry. Noted your references before. I will have to check it out.

    Have a fine and fun weekend, Victoria. There’s probably lots of snow there, huh? Raining here on the SF Peninsula. I love it.

    Blessings ….

    Like

  18. trisha says:

    What a poem! In one hand it made me sad, on the other it made me wonder about life, and what happens when we are dead.

    Like

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