Sunday, July 13, 2014

Not Time Yet

Stamp Falls in spring

We were traveling together
when you took the turning
where the Disappeared go,
and are seen no more.
I could not follow. The way was barred.
Still, I continued walking,
carrying your soul with me
in a small wooden box,
hidden under my cape,
held close to my heart.

When I tire, and falter, 
am tempted to turn back,
I can hear you thumping inside your box.
You will not let me 
abandon the journey.

(Asleep, she found herself 
crossing a barren desert.
There was a river ahead,
and she could hear voices, singing,
coming around the bend.
They were coming to get her,
but then she came back into her body.
Not time, yet.)

Death is a river, turbulent, roaring
through time-worn rock-walled chasms
green with weeping.
It dashes our brains out on the rocks
so the eagles may feed,
then settles us, lighter and relieved 
of our earthly burden,
in rippled ponds along the shore,
where beaver and wolves
may find us.
I will meet you there
at twilight
on the last day.

At midnight, a ghostly specter
glides mistily along the shore.
She is beckoning,
but I pretend that I am blind.
She is calling.
I pantomime that I am deaf
and cannot hear.
Not time, yet.

These words are a pathway
between the time when you were here
and now.
They are as full of your absence
as my heart. 
I am still traveling.
You always did go before me on the path.
I am getting just a little closer.
Not time, yet. Not yet.

for Grace's prompt at Real Toads:  to take inspiration from the work of El Salvador poet Claribel Alegria, who was planning a trip with her husband when he died. She still made the journey, "traveling with his soul". I took that as my jumping off point. 


  1. This feels so spiritual and with a sense of immortality beckoning at the end of her journey and yet not a moment before, profoundly life-affirming and hopeful. An exceptional performance piece Sherry, I loved this.

  2. :) I also just realized I am the first commenter.

    I am impressed at how prolific you and members of our poetry community are, at posting up poems and commenting everywhere within time. It makes me realize I am living in a time-lapse or something. I gotta learn from you fabulous people how this is done!

  3. This is an amazing response to themes of life, death and sorrow, Sherry. While it evokes the poet, Alegria, your signature motifs shine through. I love the stanza beginning with the words "Death is a river..." The whole is glorious.

  4. Such a moving poem, Sherry. Really well done. Personal and universal. Agree with Kerry--just wonderful. k.

  5. Not time yet - this refrain moved me ~ Though we want to follow our loved ones in death, we are reminded that we still can't abandon our journey ~ That whole section of Death is a river- is just wonderful Sherry ~

    Thanks for participating with Sunday's challenge and wishing you happy week ~

  6. Amazing poem.. I especially like the description of the death being a river.. To travel with death makes me think of "the seventh seal" a little..

  7. Not time yet! Great refrain. Your narrator carries a great weight lightly. Given the fantastic vision of the ponds of death and their visitors i can see she is unafraid. Yet it is not time yet--a refrain that implies it is not entirely her decision, but somewhat is--and she chooses life. I like this very much.

  8. This is just an incredible piece of work, Sherry. You have put into words elusive apprehensions and images that have come to me from time to time.

  9. This is amazing work. Just amazing. So much to rave about here, especially the refrain, "not time yet". Wonderful poem.

  10. This is so beautiful and touching, Sherry. I especially LOVE the fourth stanza. So powerful.

  11. I for one am so glad it's not time yet. Not until you exhaust the rest of all the beautiful poetry within you. I can't help but think this is dedicated to your loving wolf-dog. I know he appreciates the sentiment but I know he loves you enough to wait.

  12. Still laughing about the black dog in the rakish hat!

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    =^..^= <3

  13. "but then she came back into her body"...the idea of two different entities, consciousness and body beautifully explored here Sherry...a truth that many of us are not ready to accept...a deep writing, as always.. :)

  14. "You always did go before me on the path.
    I am getting just a little closer.
    Not time, yet. Not yet."

    I've been staring at these three lines for a few minutes; wondering why they make my heart jump so fast... I will sleep on it.

  15. this is stunning, Sherry ~

  16. having those companions to walk life with us...priceless...and the end..having them gone on before us...we will join them again...when th time is right...and when it does it will be a relief and reunion...but not yet...

    powerful poem sherry

  17. Lovely, and sweet, adorable images of doggy dear!

  18. "these words are a pathway"… I echo everything said above!

  19. i like the image of death as a river - and when it is our time we will set out... i can also feel the longing in your words to meet those that crossed it already... what a reunion that will be...

  20. Sherry, they tell me that life goes on. Your poem today fits my first and second grade girl friend and our relationship as I saw it. Her father took her out of public school and put her into a private, parochial school.

    For sure the box is sealed forever now, she committed suicide before age 20. I hear her inside, I have written poems about her and us.
    I won't bore you with my other friend of 37 years. He died June 17 but I only found out about it this afternoon when I Googled him to find out more of an honor that he had received. We had move to the north end of Houston and we had lived South near him before. We were golfing buddies back then. His box may emit sounds also.


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!