“Anniversary” – Departures of Old Year



I walk the plowed road.  Even brown slush
glistens in the sun.  Last year this day
my father died, briefly.  In an elbowed rush,
they brought him back.  I don’t know the way
of such things, only that they blessed us with four
days more–time to fly, drive, arrive, live, be…
our suddenly fleet feet bare on the raised floor
of the urgent now, the only-this now, the
now not everlasting. We defended, then,
from the tubes that made life possible, also
impossible; doing all one does when
one h0pes for still to do; saying, low,
I love you in the lightening of the dim maze
that’s death, arms around arms, returning gaze.


A reading of the poem:  


Here’s a draft sonnet (of sorts – I know the meter is not exact)  written as the old year, a rather hard one for me, departs.

I will likely link with Real Toads and dVerse Poets Pub open link nights. 

I wish all the happiest of new years. 

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58 Comments on ““Anniversary” – Departures of Old Year”

  1. cloudfactor5 Says:

    Some of your last poems have given me such a sense of being in the moment, like this line”the only-this now” of the urgent now”
    now not everlasting” as if you were threading the now through the moment! I love your perspective of now!

  2. I like the urgent now and appreciate the rhymes in the sonnet K ~

    The last two lines hit me as I too came close to saying goodbye to my mom last year ~ But we are blessed, she is now in good health ~

    Wishing you Happy New Year ~ Cheers ~

  3. kkkkaty Says:

    Indeed an anniversary of a poetic and special kind…wishing you a Happy New Year

  4. Mary Says:

    Ah, no ‘nows’ are everlasting. At least the bringing back allowed you to have a few days with your father, valuable time I imagine for you; but I find myself wondering how it was for him…..hopefully good as well. Life is so fragile, and sometimes we don’t know when to say good – bye or whether we are making the right decision or not. But being able to say “I love you” one more time is indeed a valuable thing!

  5. brian miller Says:

    the only-this now, the
    now not everlasting…this is unltimately how we should live as we never know how short our time is, you know…those extra days are a blessing when it is someone so dear as well…..happy new year k

  6. As others have said. a true capture of the urgency and immediacy that ‘this-now’ can have, where past and future are totally irrelevant except as vague landmarks…I like it that even brown slush cn glow, and that we can defend from what makes things possible and impossible alike, in that brief electric moment. Best wishes for a Happy New Year, Karin, and a healing time for all the wounds.

  7. Ravenblack Says:

    Beautiful and heartfelt piece. There’s emotion in every thought-line, the middle is very strong. The conclusion feels or as I visualized like a bond everlasting, in a family hug.

    Best wishes to you for 2013, Karin.

  8. ayala Says:

    I know how you feel. Sorry for your loss. It’s four years since my dad passed, I think of him every day. Happy New Year and all the best.

  9. That’s a very hard memory to live through, Karin, especially as it’s bound to occur for the rest of your life, after the first year and a day of recovery from loss. I hope you will wake one New Year’s Eve, and feel at peace.

  10. vivinfrance Says:

    A hard memory is honoured in this poem. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  11. claudia Says:

    you know the one line that moved me so very deeply in this was…
    I don’t know the way
    of such things….no we don’t… we never…it moves beyond our control and we just have to accept…really k. – moved me deeply..happy new year to you

  12. David King Says:

    So beautifully rendered this. Exquisite and therefore so moving.

    our suddenly fleet feet bare on the raised floor
    of the urgent now, the only-this now, the
    now not everlasting.

    and the so-lovely last line. A fine and memorable poem.

  13. Mama Zen Says:

    “our suddenly fleet feet bare on the raised floor
    of the urgent now”

    Incredibly beautiful, powerful, and moving image.

  14. Steve King Says:

    This is so wonderfully grounded, starting with the details of the road, the glistening slush…
    “I don’t know the way of such things…” You examine inevitability and create power and beauty in the description of it. What I admire most is the completeness of this work in so few lines. A very excellent piece.

  15. Just beautiful. I love the paradox of dying briefly. My father died this way too and so I truly see that you really captured it.

  16. This is such a powerful, heartfelt write – the urgency of “now” indeed. This line in particular grabbed me, “I don’t know the way
    of such things”…

  17. Your reading of this was perfection. Your poem is very timely for me today. Thank you.

  18. This is amazing, Karin–one of your best yet. I embrace the subtle message of the importance of an Advance Directive (which I’ve had for many years. In your situation, I see the blessing in resuscitation in this case…but then how hard to make decisions for a loved one. Very sensitive and touching poem.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks,Victoria. It (resuscitation) is such a thorny issue. My father was already under a certain kind of hospice care, but my mom didn’t quite realize what that meant. We did–when it was clear that he really would not be able to survive long – take the tubes out and bring him home. This allowed him to be fully conscious really until his last breath which was just a huge blessing. It was hard as this type of thing may also hasten someone’s death by a short while (beyond what modern medicine could sustain with tubing and sedation) but he was so awake and alive until the last moment, that it was really pretty remarkable. Thanks again for all your support this year. Have a wonderful new year. k.

  19. Miriam E. Says:

    very intense and beautifully sad. wonderfully written, Karin – loved your description of the ‘now’.
    anniversaries suck in a way… but they also remind us of our love for the ones we lost.
    great poem.

  20. our suddenly fleet feet bare on the raised floor
    of the urgent now

    This piece has so many wonderful lines, and so much heart-felt emotion–A wonderful reminder of life’s ending and out need to be present for it–I loved this Karin

  21. Poignant and evocative ~ a lovely capture

  22. From your first line – ‘I walked the plowed road.’, you captured the rush of feeling that we all will feel at the death of a parent. I can’t express how much this poem moved me. It was perfect. K

  23. tashtoo Says:

    Way too touched by this to offer anything that even resembles a decent comment. I now hold a tissue, and hope 2013 shines bright and bold for you. This was fantastic!

  24. Ruth Says:

    factual and yet feeling-rich, touching… my mother died this past year too, rather unexpectedly.
    loved “our suddenly fleet feet bare on the raised floor
    of the urgent now, the only-this now, the
    now not everlasting” & altogether the way your poem put me at the scene

  25. Pamela Says:

    Karin, this is lovely and heartfelt. Wishing you a very happy new year filled with love and laughter.


  26. WabiSabi Says:

    There are few other events in life that can wring us out like the death of a parent. Your poem is a beautiful expression of your love and grief. Peace in 2013!

  27. Kelvin S.M. Says:

    ..he’s with you in this poem, i can sense… he’s guiding you all throughout the writing of this.. happy new year Karin…. smiles…

  28. Such a beautiful rendition, that in the sun, in the glow of life, all glistens, even precious precarious moments – all the best k. 😉

  29. lucychili Says:

    life is so fragile. best wishes

  30. stuartmcphersonpoet Says:

    wow…i felt this….the same time last year my father DID die…and this poem captures feelings/emotions so delicately, written so honestly….this poem is stuck in my throat like a lump…and that is poetry…

  31. Beautiful poem. Loved it. Happy New Year to you and yours! 🙂

    Greetings from London.

  32. wolfsrosebud Says:

    those anniversaries have a way of sneaking in…lovely express of the grief you still bare… sorry for your loss… praise God for the extra time you had

  33. janehewey Says:

    your last line sticks with me. that’s death, arms around arms, returning gaze. a beautiful depiction of exchanged love and holding. Even brown slush glistens in the sun is a really beautiful testament to hope and life. This is a great poem, Karin.

  34. This is so deep and heartfelt and just plain real. So poetic, so searching, while at the same time, solid and sure. Awesome write, k!

  35. beckykilsby Says:

    You’ve done a magnificent job of capturing the scrabble and scramble to lengthen life. carefully modulated to extract an emotional and cerebral surge of recognition. Some outstanding phrases – this the most powerful, for me (a painful memory of my mother’s death)

    Last year this day
    my father died, briefly.

    btw.. are you still working on the meter?

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hi Becky – no, I haven’t worked any more on the poem since posting. I think that there are pretty much five feet per line but I didn’t worry about iambs. I tend to use more of a syllabic count and then will test the feet every now and again. I know some people i.e. Luke Prater (Ha!) think one shouldn’t use the label sonnet without iambic pentameter though.

      If you have any suggestions please feel free to make them. Thanks much. k.

      • beckykilsby Says:

        Was just curious really… I like the technical stuff and always interested to see where other poets are coming from on sonneteering. It reads very well I think and I love the fact that although end-rhymed the effect is so subtle..totally fitting to allow the emotional impact to well up during the read.

        This is even better second time around. Sucj a good example of understatement.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        It is interesting to see how people approach things. As I mentioned, I tend to approach meter through rough syllable counts, allowing myself a sort of range, and then listening if the feet sound right. k.

  36. apshilling Says:

    becky has beat me to it
    on almost every point, so i shall agree with becky:
    a great example of understatement and the reading delivers it all
    so well . . . the subtlety is key and well crafted for max emo impact
    in lo-fi minimalism . . . Perfect! 🙂

  37. nico Says:

    Beautifully written, very poignant and moving. “I don’t know the way of such things.” This humble statement is something I find myself admitting more often, the more years pass.

  38. Susan Says:

    “our suddenly fleet feet bare on the raised floor
    of the urgent now”

    O, K! doing, saying, returning gaze. Captured, heartbeat, rhythm, all. Thank you. Especially for reading.

  39. Deborah Says:

    what a marvelous carving of feelings and truths! Im caught in your spell and the intimacy of heart and reader in your voice! Thank you sincerely ~ Happy 2013! Blessings friend ~Deborah

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