On The Day


On the day

On the day you died,
some could swallow
somewhere else.

Sips were tipped from glasses rimmed
with bright transparency;
cake was even guzzled, laughing,
over weaving cleavages of satin;

sand absorbed the sea
a few blocks away,
as little see-through crabs were digested
and regurgitated
in the crawling sway;

I tried to give you something sweet, honey,
but sweetness
was yours
to surfeit–

the quick swoop of a bird, so like
a swallow,
shadowed the glass
by your bed, the door,
the window–

So hard to swallow
what we live through,
the done rising in our throats
with each day’s sun.
Not bright, not
still, sometimes we want to shade our eyes
looking inside
in the way that one might peer
through a pinhole
at the eclipse
of a whole star.



Here’s another one inspired by the Real Toads prompt by Grace on Jane Hirshfield;  I am linking it to Real Toads Tuesday Open Forum.

The process of online poetry is so interesting to me–I like to write at a fairly rapid clip so post fairly frequently and often call things drafts.  This is one I wrote yesterday morning essentially and have been revisiting since then–adding little (important) bits, then cutting dramatically–cutting at least a third yesterday and about twenty percent more  just this morning. (Which makes me nervous enough that I put back a few words here and there–ha!)   So, I’m not certain I’ve got the best version–and maybe should even cut more–at the same time, I would just as soon go ahead and post, as I’m not sure I can make a concrete decision about it all right now.  

The pic is mine and is taken from the back of a ghost dance drum, made by George Beaver, a Pawnee in Oklahoma around 1891-92.  (I do not mean the poem to be about Native Americans, but photographed the drum at a recent exhibit I saw about Plains Indians. ) 

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26 Comments on “On The Day”

  1. Sanaa Says:

    This is an amazing poem.. with a touch of sadness.. you have depicted the pain of loss so beautifully..! Hats off..!

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    The poem is wildly good, k–full of those digestible little crablike bits that regurgitate themselves from subconscious to conscious. I am getting a very vast sense of the ‘you’ here–as if it might be the earth, the species, perhaps some fanfare at the end of a doomed history, Pompeii going down–and that could or might be a very powerful metaphor for the personal as well. But either way, a poem that works the reader’s heart, soul and mind in harness. I also found your note interesting–that you are comfortable doing in full view what I do in the darkness of my offline files. Great self-confidence to do that, I think, and of course, your stuff is so good unedited that it can only get better, whereas my first efforts I doubt need to see the light of day till carefully groomed. ;_)

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Thanks. Well it is very edited if only over the course of a day off and on. Your close editing shows very strongly in the compression and care of all your lines. I just have such a strong need to keep going and making new that I indulge myself in posting rapidly to give myself a sense of clearing the decks a little– I have about four or five old manuscripts of novels hanging about and am very sorry I never just accepted one of the many drafts and put them out as it is so very difficult for me to revisit or at least revisit and keep– but, thanks for your generous reading. I am glad to hear that the poem works on different levels. K.

      • hedgewitch Says:

        I understand–there is an imperative to get stuff out, more so in your case,but I always feel that nothing is really written till someone else has read it, so posting it in some way makes it real.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Yes, that is very true. Of course that sometimes makes it feel too real! And hard to return to, but it is very freeing by and large. Thanks for being one of the readers. K.

  3. This is just wonderful and I understand your writing technique very well… actually the prompt Claudia has today on dVerse is exactly like this.. The image of death mingled with the picture of the sea-shore and the translucent crabs became so visual.. wonderful writing Karin (and yes i sometimes rewrite my poems many times after they are published)..

  4. Jamie Dedes Says:

    I write the same way. I think with poetry, it’s all draft. Years go by and I am still refining. With prose on the other hand, eventually I am done. Nice work, k. Enjoyed the poem. 🙂 Happy days …

  5. whimsygizmo Says:

    This is an incredible piece. I love the wistfulness, almost bitterness, of the ease of others.

  6. ihatepoetry Says:

    Very evocative and beautiful – the shifting of time and perspective lends this an unworldly quality.

  7. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    I don’t think we ever really know when a poem is ‘finished’; maybe they never are, but there comes a point when we declare them so because we are finished with them. With mine, the ones that really aren’t working, I find if I put them aside for a year or two and then come back to them, I can see at a glance the one or two tiny tweaks that will fix them, or else that they can only be discarded. I always love your ‘drafts’, though, and usually can’t see any possibility of improvement! We’re all unique and original, but you are more so than anyone. (“Some are more equal than others’, lol.) The final four lines of this are a splendid culmination, and I love your star pic too.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thank you so much, Rosemary. You are always very kind. I agree with you about the clarity of coming back to something. I think reading aloud is also a very good test. Sometimes what is hard for me–is that there are things one likes–but they weigh down whatever it is you are doing–the poem or prose piece–hard to get rid of something you like! Anyway, thanks. k.

      On Tue, May 12, 2015 at 6:58 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  8. claudia Says:

    what mosk says about the unworldly quality – i would agree – the memories and thoughts hang there for us to pluck and understand a bit of the mood and sadness

  9. gailatthefarm Says:

    I almost cried at the wealth of emotion in this.

    Thanks for visiting and your kind comment.

  10. Marian Says:

    Love the cake being guzzled… says so much, such a glimpse of the chaos of emotions at a wake. Do you mean “even cake was guzzled,” which is how I read it? Just love that idea.

  11. X Says:

    There is a nice slow build in this for me. The double splay of swallow, the contrast of feeling. The last stanza makes it for me. It is solid. It is ambiguous enough we can all relate tot he feeling of that done rising – the looking inside through the peep hole though makes for a great image to build on.

  12. Mama Zen Says:

    This is deeply moving.

  13. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    A poem which begins: On the day you died… is bound to get my attention. The grieving process is so personal, but also universal and you give us a bit of both in the details. The tone puts me in mind of The Emperor of Ice Cream. One thing I have never understood is how people are apt to fill their bellies after the funeral, when I always feel empty and sick.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hi Kerry,

      You know I was thinking of the Hirshfield poem–a blessing for a wedding–and was really thinking of people (outside the dying person’s purview) eating and drinking and life going on. I had in fact a very explicit reference to a bride, but thought that was confusing and better to be just simpler, if rather ambiguous. It is interesting that you saw it in that manner–I am trying to cut things more–and I do think that leaves the poems more open to different interpretations. Thanks as always. k.

      On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 1:14 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  14. I really, really enjoyed how you work on your poetry. You’re almost like a sculptor, taking bits from here, chiselling over there. I loved this poem. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  15. M Says:

    distilled, elemental; even – organic. fine pen, K ~

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