last words

In context with my previous post, and my recent visit to Elon University (possibly my number one college of choice: I fell in love with it even before I went on campus, and being there only helped solidify my excitement toward it), I decided to post a poem from their literary and art journal, Colonnades. This particular poem, titled "Last Words," was actually their subtitle for their 2005 edition of Colonnades, reason being that the editors "believe that the hope of all artists is contained in these lines ("They will find me, dirt-dusted masterpiece/Of their mother's or father's heritage./They will not have to wonder if I was loved"): the hope that our work will leave a lasting impression. The hope that there is something in our line break, our metaphor, our brushstroke that makes some piece of this world seem newer, shinier, cleaner than it did before."

My favorite part is the first two lines of the second stanza; it seems a very fascinating way to think of God and death. You can decide for yourself, however. Here is "Last Words" by Victoria Windsor.

I do not want an expensive casket. I want a simple box
Painted by children who do not have parents
Who love them. Let the children choose
Colors that suit their mood and may or may not
Resemble my life at all.
Let it be about them
And the way they do not fear death.
For one day their grandchildrens'
Grandchildren will go digging
Around playgrounds or graveyards,
Around the rugged earth in the middle
Of a forest near their home, and
They will find me, dirt-dusted masterpiece
Of their mothers' or fathers' heritage.
They will not have to wonder if I was loved.
Soon it will be too late to call
My daughter. I will be sleeping
Soundly, quietly, waiting for the children.

I believe in a God who would never
Make us live life twice. He is too compassionate
For that, and smarter.
One day I won't come back. People aren't like that.
They go, their hearts distressed
Like drifting sailors or old furniture.
They are lost or used, but mostly forgotten.
When the last thread of my hair is pulled from your jacket,
The only things you will remember
Are the colors of my coffin. Blues and reds
And browns stirred on the wood
In childish script, pictures of things
no on but children will understand.
They will cover me in autumn leaves, they will want
to jump about me and have me move with them, like them.
Their parents will not allow this and I will burn
With the leaves, my smoke and scent and laughter
Filling the evening sky.

God bless,

1 comment:

Melanie said...

That's such a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing.