"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Sand Dollar


As sand falls from a sand dollar
set on a shelf far from the seashore
(the tide pools of Oregon),
so do the seasons shift and leaves drop, 
weighted with rain from a gunmetal sky.
It muddies the unmarked grave,
the shoveled dirt, blackened and coarse,
unlike his face, clean-shaven on the blade of the mortician.
Lids drawn over the sterling blue eyes,
tie straightened and mouth closed,
tight-lipped, as our father never was.
The mouth isn’t right, my sister whispered
as the kneeler wobbled under our connected sorrow.
I checked his pockets, like a child for a coin,
climbing on a lap, cool and deep, and empty.



Linked to the Tuesday Platform (Poets Choice) at The Imaginary Garden.

24 comments:

Gillena Cox said...

nice juxtaposition of emptiness there at the end

much love...

Yvonne Osborne said...

Thank you, Gillena.

Stacie Eirich said...

Oh you had me at that beautiful image of the sea & Ms. Oliver's line (she is stunning, as always) -- but your poem, with its tenderness & sadness, surprised me. Touched me. Thanks for sharing.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Such a sensitively written poem. I am genuinely moved by the images and mood.

Anthony Duce said...

Enjoyed the path of small surprises leading to the imagery and emotions expressed so deeply at the end.

Kim Russell said...

I really like the circular movement of your poem, from the sand dollar to the coin.

brudberg said...

The image of your father after the mortician's work... I still remember that as well... the last view... how different. How well you have weaved it with the image of the sand-dollar...

Liza said...

Poetry is such a good way to work through the pain.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Stacie,
Thank you very much. Thanks for coming here and sharing a comment.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Kerry,
Thank you and thank you for the Garden, a home to post comfortably and to share the hardest thoughts.

Tony,
Thank you so much.

Kim,
Thanks! You know...it's funny, I hadn't intended the circular movement but in my final edit I changed the last lines, in a totally unconscious way, and this is what evolved.

colleen said...

I love that you checked his pocket. I could see the scene.

Jim said...

Very nice, Yvonne. I wasn't expecting these thoughts evoked when at first I was remembering sand dollars. But the you shifted our image and thoughts to fathers everywhere as they die. They all do at their appointed time, or before? I remember mine very vividly, as his body lay in the coffin. Thank you.
..

Yvonne Osborne said...

Brudberg, Thank you. I think I struck a common cord without realizing it.

Liza,
You are so right. Thank you.

Colleen,
Thanks. I don't know what compelled me to do that. Just one more time...wanted to put a hand in his pocket.

Jim,
I've been looking at that sand dollar for weeks, cleaning underneath it only to pick it up again and see another pile of sand. Every time I walked by it, a poem in my head. Thanks.

Stacy Lynn Mar said...

sounds like a lovely memory.
reminds me of some of my own moments near the sea.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Stacy
Thank you.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I had to google 'sand dollar', never having encountered this term before. That done, I was able to get the metaphor and appreciate the power and beauty of this poem, as I'm sure many others would immediately.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Rosemary,
Hi and thank you so much. My sand dollar isn't perfect, a broken corner, but finding a perfect one as the tide recedes is nearly impossible. I'm happy to meet you and thanks for commenting on my little poem. I'm glad you liked it and took something from it.

Vanessa V Kilmer said...

Beautifully written. Made me think of seeing my mother as soon as the breath left her body and I thought, "This is not her."

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Vanessa,
You are so right. Death is such a dark contrast to life. He was so suddenly "gone". I understand more clearly now why mankind has struggled so with this finality. I know we have a soul, but where does it go? How do we know? Faith, my mother would say carries us through. But the grave is unmarked and winter is coming.

Mama Zen said...

This is really moving. I'm glad that I didn't miss it.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

So beautiful, Yvonne. I am glad the words are springing free. They are real and we feel them.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Mama Zen,
Thank you! I'm glad too.

Tricia,
So nice to see you, one of my oldest blogging friends. Thank you so much.

Pet said...

i have also been lately too busy to write in my blog or in others - this time busy being happy :-)
but then it is always nice to catch up with old bloggers like you.
Your piece on your father is so beautiful. Happy as I am right now, and still it made me cry. May be because of that.
You know, you are always somehow inspiring. But this was you at your best. i can see that having a father like yours must matter.
i didn't have one, so to speak.
lol Pet

Yvonne Osborne said...

Pet,
Hi! I'm glad to hear your time has been spent being happy. My father was the best, absolutely a wonderful person and we all miss him so much. I'm happy to know that something I wrote for him was me at my best. Thank you for telling me.