Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When I Die

1989 - Tall Tree Trail

Kenia's Wednesday Challenge, over at Real Toads today, is to write a poem about one's connection with nature. A topic dear to my heart. The poet whose style is to inspire us, is 94 year old Brazilian poet, Manoel de Barros. I would love to write in his style, and may try to later today. But what popped into my head was this first line, so I decided to follow that lead. I am remembering, here, that when I lived in Tofino, among the ancient old growth rainforest, I was told that, in days of old, the First Nations people would set the bodies of their deceased relatives in the branches of the big old trees, sitting upright, their eyes looking out at the surrounding forest and the water.  

When I die,
perch me in the bowl
of an ancient cedar -
gently! -
don't crush the mosses.
Let my eyes face the sea,
my ears attune to
the tides and the patter 
of the rain
Let me sway gently
in the winter gales,
supple and bending
as a Taoist gentleman
practicing Tai Chi.
When, in time, I topple out,
come back and make a nest for me
of rotted nurselog and dampened salal. 
Add a blanket
of thick moss
and gentleman's beard. 
Tap it down lightly.
Let it become
a bed
for wolves.

[image from]


  1. You have such a passion for wolves and yet the ending still surprised me. I like the image of the moss and the sea.

  2. This is one of the best things I've read, and an instant favourite of your body of work. I would not alter a single word.

    So touching, and purely poetic. One for the book collection.

  3. I agree with Kerry, this goes in your book!
    It captures the smell and tangle of the forest's magic and the salty brine of the sea. It mixes to alter one's soul~ Pure and beautiful and it awakens the sense of our soul's journey, to connect!

  4. What a lovely read!
    I never knew this until a girl at our school (all those years ago) told us the meaning of her name, Liana. It's the name of the rope made out of trees that Tarzan used to swing from tree to tree.
    For some reason your imagery of the sights and even the smells of a tree made me think of this. I always thought it such a pretty name.
    Loved all of this Sherry.

  5. Sherry... Your connection to the natural world and the spiritual world flow through every line of this poem. Your work always inspires and enthralls.

  6. This shows so well your true connection with nature. It would be a lovely way to go out, wouldn't it? I wouldn't want to be meandering by the cedar where you happened to be lying, however. It might give me quite the start!

  7. Brilliant. Nothing to add to what others have said.

  8. I agree with Shay. Pup would certainly approve.
    I also agree with Kerry. This is wonderful, and shouldn't be changed.

  9. Beautiful....this is one of your best writing ~

  10. Love, love, LOVE your first sentence. What a great beginning to a great poem! They're right, one of your bestest best. Not sure if 'attune' is the right word, but other than that.....You know what's wild? Thin wolves have been taking out people's pets here, sometimes right in front of the owner. In my neighbourhood I'm nervous to be out alone at night! Me!

  11. Thank you, sister poets! High praise! It came from my deepest Self, the one less afflicted with confused aging neurons, hee hee.

  12. Such beauty in passing! I've said this same phrase at least three times this the fourth this week. Truly a beautiful poem.

  13. this is so marvelous. the passage of time is a dreamy, real, romantic journey through this. you use two adverbs, the first with an exclamation point, which i love becuz you are newly dead and so your request to be perched gently! is a funny one. lightly is used like a magic wish, knowing the nest should be just right to bring the divine life force of the wolves to you.

  14. A poignant read, brimming with luscious images...

  15. Sherry, this is so wonderful.

  16. I love this poem so much. A total FAVORITE already!!! YAY!!!!

  17. This is fantastic...the images come alive in your of your best!

  18. why does this not surprise me, you dear, dear lover of nature... just awesome,

  19. coming via Kay's blog. When I die, i don't want a fancy coffin, so trees don't have to die too.

  20. ahhhhhh!!!! How delicious was this. Someones passions are showing.....pretty attractive really.


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!