The Dead Woman and Her Sister


Image by diver227 via Flickr

I enjoy experimenting with odd poetry forms and this one is crafted after a style introduced by Marvin Bell in his volumes of Dead Man Poetry. The theme this week for Jingle’s Poetry Potluck is Siblings, Cousins and Friends. While many loving images come to mind on this subject I decided to take it in a dark direction. Be sure to visit some of the amazing poets who will participate in this challenge at:

The Dead Woman and Her Sister.

The dead woman stirs
from a dream of endless
nothingness and travels
to meet her sister who,
in life, she despised.
She opens her mouth to
speak but words remain
trapped inside a thought
bubble. The sister
turns over in her sleep
and groans as though
a breath whispered across
her restless body.

More About the Dead Woman and Her Sister

The dead woman returns
to a void of regret.
Water floods into
the tomb and cleanses her
regrets and clarifies
her understanding so
that she knows freedom.
Her body floats
upon a sea of tears
and in the passage to
the cosmic depths
she drinks the cup
of forgiveness.

A couple of notes about Dead Man Poetry: Bell structured his work in two parts: The Dead Man and More About the Dead Man. Another characteristic of the form is what I would call “disconcerting” enjambment (line breaks).


28 thoughts on “The Dead Woman and Her Sister

  1. brian says:

    love the visit to the ghosts sister…i wonder if we will feel those regrets in the after life…and be prompted the take these steps…i am glad she found her absolution…

    i am going no where..still writing nearly every day…just not at OSp


  2. Luke Prater says:

    A little more of a minimalist stye from you here? And more enjambment, as you say. Great pieces; you do word-economy v well V


  3. luna15 says:

    haunting and pure. great story!


  4. mish says:

    It’s like the outline of a two-part story . There are so many possibilities in between , that the reader could fill in .
    interesting poetry form … sad & heavy tone but it hints at a resolution in the end .


  5. Not knowing much about poetry, except in it’s more simple forms, I am impressed with what you’ve done. Regardless of how it is done, it is done beautifully.


  6. Bodhirose says:

    I love this, Victoria–the darkness captured perfectly. These are just wonderful. I’ve seen others writing this form–I’m so intrigued and I know nothing about this form but I want to find out.


  7. trisha says:

    this is fantastic. they say our emotions tie us to earth when our bodies are no longer ours.


  8. Very powerful and a strong lesson to be learned. It feels quite eerie which is very cool


  9. becca givens says:

    Aww – we cannot pick the members of our biological family … I often wonder how people who live in the same household, brought up the same way – turn out so differently and do not have a relationship … the bond of family is there, but not necessarily the love, respect or understanding. Powerfully written in the manner you chose to present it.


  10. vivinfrance says:

    Victoria, your two poems rang several bells with me, having an exceedingly contradictory on/off relationship with my own sister. In fact it made me re-think some entrenched attitudes and maybe change them. Thank you.


  11. Lyn says:

    Two amazing poems..whatever the’s the imagery, and the reconcilliation at the end that’s very special!


  12. Kim Nelson says:

    This is a powerful device for exploration of relationship. Well done!


  13. Claudia says:

    i think this is so tough if we know we behaved in a wrong way and the other dies and then we carry it around, trying to forgive ourselves…you captured that struggle so well victoria


  14. thingy says:

    Victoria, the first poem hit a nerve. Wow. Two terrific writes.


  15. Jaan Pehchaan says:

    Set the words free from the thought bubble! Here is mine:


  16. Chimnese says:

    wow this was such an amzing take on the form, also forgiveness is the end to all turmoil in releases you from that unavoiding emptiness inside.


  17. seabell says:

    In the end, forgiveness is a form of forgetfulness…


  18. seabell says:

    The presentation is nice and different. I suppose it is a poem in stages, like theatre. First act: the dead woman travels to meet her sister. Second act: she returns to her own tomb feeling sorrow and forgetful. A round of applause!


  19. ALIVE aLwaYs says:

    nice form and with the continuity it brings, the flow is quite soothing,
    however on another note, the depiction was sad, and nothing saddens more than regret, forgiveness is all one desires to offer relief from the embedded guilt.
    Nice one!!!


  20. Happy 4th of July Victoria! Have a happy new week!

    About the poems – I like the part with the forgiveness on the end … it makes somehow the sadness in the poem not that strong!


  21. Andy says:

    I actually found this quite sad.
    The ending was most powerful, though.

    Nicely done!


  22. DW says:

    dark, magical…a wonderful read.


  23. Jingle says:

    dark indeed.

    powerful lessons can be withdrew from those.
    Thanks for the profound treat.

    Have fun in the potluck.


  24. good, good, I dig it.


  25. jgavinallan says:

    Disconcerting is one way of putting it. Eerie quality and downright ominous is another. Also, I think this form is brilliant.


  26. siggiofmaine says:

    i really enjoyed this form of poetry. And, enjoyed your two poems. I read about Marvin Bell, and will go back and read some of his poetry.
    A lot can be said, succinctly with this type of poetry. Being a poetry late bloomer…in the way of not understanding the mechanics of more than just the few styles taught in school…this is a true “find” for me. ☮ ♥. Siggi in Downeast Maine


  27. Oddly disconcerting, indeed, but good.


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