Taking the Easy Way Out

And since it is axiomatic to say, “There are worse things than death,” it is appropriate that today’s poetic device is

Elegy:  A poem of grief or mourning; a lyric lament.

The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Device, by William Packard.  While I am thinking of it, I should tell you that I am only partially quoting most of these definitions.  The examples and elaborations Packard gives for some of them go on, quite helpfully, for pages.

And so for my version of a lyric lament, which was written many years ago., thus, this post is taking the easy way out by using a pre-existing poem, which may or may not disqualify me from your assurances.  As for there being worse things to befall us than death, I would have to say, that may be true for the individual who experiences the departure, but it is not true for those of us who are left living.

Departure
(for my father)

The soul leaves
behind a sound

like a drop of water
dancing on a hot
griddle
hitting cast iron sides
sizzling until it disappears.

Like the last of the fireworks
crackling crescendo
of pops rolling over
and over each other
gaining urgency, speed
yet losing strength, volume.

Like stiff expensive paper
being hurriedly crumpled
to hide writing, love
expressed or denied on the page
or other cache of secrets
sacred or not.

Like a kite whose string
has been cut
swishing in the quiet
atmosphere, above
the human sphere and unreachable
as it floats

I’m up high

like my father
whispered on his deathbed.

By Suzanne Baldwin Leitner

2 thoughts on “Taking the Easy Way Out

  1. I’m tried of telling you how good you are, you know how good you are. It’s just a pleasure to read you.

    I mean, I’ll never watch you work, and there’s the old saw of sausage making, but how you arrived with

    “a drop of water
    dancing on a hot
    griddle
    hitting cast iron sides
    sizzling until it disappears.”

    in context, was baby bottom perfect.

    I sound the ass, considering the subject.

    Sorry, and off to three finger some bourbon.

    Doug

    1. Suzanne B. Leitner

      I think you’re too hard on yourself (you don’t “sound the ass” to me), and I know you’re too easy on me – but I’ll take it! You have given me the best compliment a poet can receive: acknowledgment that there is pleasure in reading her.

      I appreciate the feedback more than I can tell you. Sometimes, as you know yourself, this work feels so isolating (and that is the paradox of poetry, I reckon – we do the work alone, but it is the work that seeks to connect us to the rest of the human family).

      Because I have been working on a novel, I have not been meeting with my poetry group, and I miss that regular trade with other poets. Comments here help fill in that void a little, so thanks much.

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