Dismissed too soon

Years ago, I read a tale of an old man, who gave his sons a lesson of a lifetime — the lesson of the four seasons. He sent out his four sons to look at the same pear tree in different seasons. Needless to say, they all had a different report to give. One talked of the promise of spring, the other the devastation of winter, yet another the abundance of autumn and the youngest spoke of the newness of summer. “It is but vital for you to see, notice, acknowledge and appreciate a being in all its four seasons,” advised their wise father.

Recently, when I related this story to a friend — the context was the obvious, common difference in the ways deaths of people in their spring and that of people in their winter are treated. There is natural despair at an untimely death, the death of a young, blossoming person and then there is sometimes an almost eager, relieved goodbye to an old, ailing one — he asked me to write an etheree on it. I have written two. As if that suffices.

Courtesy http://www.oriontrail.deviantart.com

So

Leafless.

‘Twas my tree.

Winter iced it.

I forsake it, though.

For I smell nothingness.

~

‘Tis Spring. There, my blossom tree.

Life ate it to death with malice.

Tears are not enough for the loss.

For life’s departed into nothingness.

Β ~ ~ ~ ~

Courtesy http://www.redbubble.com

~ ~ ~ ~

Leaves and blossoms gently nurse springtime fruits.

Life’s giving life — unsated, joyous.

Ah, the lovesome delights of spring!

Days perfume eternities.

~

White lights come in, laming

Eternity so!

Disown fruits now?

Β No. Look, life

Outlives

Frost.

————————

An etheree comprises of 10 lines. It begins with a one syllable line, increasing one syllable per line until the last line of ten syllables. The syllable count of the entire poem is 55. The syllabic structure, therefore, is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, and is unmetered and unrhymed.


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42 thoughts on “Dismissed too soon”

  1. It suffices perfectly, Priya. I love the symmetry of the two poems, like a cycle of waves beginning and ending in a single point. My favorite line is this: “Leaves and blossoms gently nurse springtime fruits.”

    1. I quite appreciate the symmetry as well, Charles.

      “like a cycle of waves beginning and ending in a single point” — this makes me want to change either the beginning, “So leafless”, or the end “.. outlives frost”. You are right about the beginning and ending being in a single point, but “so” and “frost” seem incongruous! This is food for thought, I’ll think about it.

      Thank you.

  2. LOVE it Priya.
    I also love the way you went from 1 to 10 and then for the second one went from 10 to 1!
    I cannot chose just one favourite line I like several sections, for example:
    “Winter iced it.
    I forsake it, though.
    For I smell nothingness.”
    and
    “Tears are not enough for the loss”
    and
    “But look, life
    Outlives
    Frost.”

    1. I originally wanted to make the two poems in the shape of a leaf, but WordPress’ strange thing against double Enter keying stopped my grand creative plans. πŸ™‚

      Good you like it, Rosie. And even better that some of your favourite lines are mine, too!

  3. ‘For I smell nothingness’ is so powerful a statement.

    I have taken the liberty of printing this post, photos and words, and have placed it over my desk. It’s mesmerizing.

    I hope we hear from the person who asked you to write about his loss. Or perhaps, you will share his thoughts, if they re not too private.

    1. I found For I smell nothingness so overwhelming myself that I had to stop awhile before I could resume again. It is a powerful sentiment, especially if you feel it.

      I am immensely wowed at your printing these poems and keeping it on your desk. Thank you, EOS.

      About my friend and our discussion: We were discussing death in general. (Go on then, call us weird.) I apologise if I wasn’t clear enough and inadvertently indicated that he’d experienced a loss. In reality, he’s a write!-pest. He wants to keep egging me on and gives me challenges I cannot refuse.

      I wouldn’t know if we’ll hear from him here, but I can tell you that he’ll agree with the poem in entirety.

  4. So beautiful, Priya. I love “But look, life outlives frost.” My sympathy for the loss. I’m sure your friend will be comforted by your words and imagery. What a kind and sensitive friend you are.

    1. Welcome back, AA! And thank you for liking this post.

      I don’t know about kind and sensitive, but I certainly am an obliging friend. As you’ll see in the comment I wrote to EOS, these poems are the fruits of a general discussion on death.

      I am sorry if I was unclear about the loss (or the lack of it) in the post. Will you forgive me?

      1. Uh oh. I have this distinct requirement to say forgive me. It sounds like we could be here for a long time this way. Let’s just agree to forgive. πŸ™‚ No?

        1. Agreed. We could put Disney’s Chip ‘n’ Dale to shame … though they were more “Thank you,” “No, thank YOU,” No, I insist, thank YOU,” “No, really, thank YOU.” πŸ™‚

          1. πŸ™‚

            Just because four yellow smilies will look wow.

            πŸ™‚
            Whoops, a fifth one! (This one was for making up for the *thing I am not going to say anymore*)

  5. Thank you for teaching me about an etheree. Who makes up all these different styles of verses and could you make one up if you wanted to? Do you have to be famous before a new style would be accepted?

    An etheree seems a good style for portraying a cycle – death and rebirth…a balance. And an honesty about nothingness.

    1. I wouldn’t know, Amy. I found this interesting style on someone’s blog and decided to give it a try. Apparently, it was started by someone not-so known and famous. Read this. http://shapingwords.blogspot.com/2010/03/etheree-armstrong-taylor-day.html
      This paves way for us create our own styles and make our own rules, doesn’t it? I am better at breaking the rules, though. So I’ll wait until I find a style I like, and then tweak it just a little to suit my rule-breakingness. πŸ™‚
      Happy to know you found it interesting. Etheree — the word itself is so enticing.

    1. I wonder how I missed it, EOS. I agree with you about its qualities. It is just what wanted. Well, if only the text’s width was editable… I’d like it just a little broader.

  6. Oh gosh, beautiful etherees, Priya – and the sentiments.
    By the way, noticing your comment above to Rosie, you can get round the double spacing in WordPress by holding down the shift key while pressing the Enter key. Hope that helps! πŸ™‚ Somewhere there’s a whole page of how do type poems in WordPress…. would you like me to look for the link to it for you?

    1. Hey! I read the Shift+Enter tip somewhere, but didn’t pay much attention to it. But now I will.

      Charles told me an HTML code for it, which helped me create spaces above and below the central picture. I’ll use the key combo to do more. Thanks, Val!

      1. Is it because I’m really tired that I’m not sure I understand Val’s advice? Instead of putting a [. ] to take up a line, I can just hold down the shift key while pressing the Enter key and my empty line will stay like magic? Is that only for poetry?

        Val, I’d love to know WordPress’s advice for typing poems.

        1. An update: I tried using Shift+Enter, but it normally doesn’t stay once I Save or Update the post. It only shows in the preview.

          About Charles’ HTML code, it stays, but not if I subsequently rework the post and click on Save/Update thereafter.

          So, I am still looking for a sustainable solution! I am missing something, I know. If it’s working for others, I should work for me, as well.

          The HTML code, by the way.

          Go to the HTML mode on the top right of your editing window — there are two tabs — Visual and HTML. Click on HTML.

          Paste this code wherever you want the space. This says 20 pixels, but you can replace the number to increase or decrease the space.

          Let me know if it works for you.

  7. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing and for visiting my blog. Also thanks for explaining the format of an etheree. I might have to try one.

  8. I love Soul Dipper’s comment about the etheree!

    I also love your poems and the fact that you and your friend had this conversation about death__young vs. old. It’s a very timely topic for me today. The suicide of a 29 year old local Olympic athelete hit the press yesterday. Many in our community are reeling over this. I know the young man’s mother (tangently) and am consumed with the thought of her agony.

    One thing I know, young or old, when someone who has been ill and suffering for a long time passes, I do sigh with relief. It seems those awful illnesses serve only one purpose: to prepare loved ones for loss.

    On the other hand, a sudden death, whether of a young or an old person, may be a blessing for the dead, but is hell for the survivors.

    Are you familiar with Dia of The Odd and The Unmentionable? Her topic is death and dying and she is the most sensitive and articulate person I know.

    1. Linda, death is a strange phenomenon — especially in today’s world.

      There are innumerable instances of lives lost without a fragment of concern for the dead or the ones surviving them. There are instances of long-drawn grief over the death of one individual, and then there is, as you say, a “sigh of relief” for the passing of a person suffering in life. Who is to decide how to see it? Or what to make of it? It hurts, it frightens, it debilitates (in one way or the other!), that’s for sure.

      A friend once lent me a comic book depiction of zen teachings. In one of the strips, a rich landowner asks a zen master to paint a painting with a charm calligraphed on it for his family’s good luck. The zen master paints a painting, and writes on it —
      Grandfather dies.
      Father dies.
      Son dies.
      Understandably, the commissioner of this work is upset. When he asks the old man about it, he says, “is there anything more you want than death coming to your family in the natural sequence?”

      Your friend must be devastated. And it is quite understandable. I do feel, though, that losing a loved one is devastating. Period. No matter the age, no matter the suffering the person was going through when alive. There may be times when even a loving individual thinks that their suffering loved one would be better off dead, but nothing can prepare them for their own life after the sufferer dies, I feel.

      I do know of Dia. I discovered her blog through yours, and visited her once. I agree. She is articulate and sensitive. I intend visiting her again soon.

      It is always good to have you here, Linda.

  9. HI: I love poetry…due to an incredible lack of talent in that area.
    Your first poem, the second was lovely, but the first…so descriptive and…just touched me
    Jaye

    1. Jaye,

      I like the first one better, too. Though, paradoxically, I wanted the second to be better. πŸ™‚ Does it ever happen to you?

      I just visited your blog. It has some great stuff. I particularly liked this

      http://jgavinallan.wordpress.com/my-poems-happy-kind/

      Thanks for visiting, and I am going to go back to your blog and read Crossroads. It looks like something I’d like.

  10. I love these etherees Priya . (And that word–etheree. It sounds like a fragile sprite spinning and spinning with arms thrown out until she collapses in happiness on the petals of a rose.) The first is so full of the hollowness of winter while the second brims with the re-hoping of spring. I admit my favorite lines were

    “Leaves and blossoms gently nurse springtime fruits.

    Life’s giving life β€” unsated, joyous.”

    Unsated. Yes, yes, yes.

    BTW, I appreciated your topic and the thread of comments it stimulated. I’m always fascinated to hear the thoughts and insights of others. Like you, contemplating the natural rhythms in the world helps me make more sense out of something that can otherwise seem so senseless. My own moments of clearest understanding have always come from observing the cycles of life and death in nature. It’s simplest there. Then I look for those same patterns underneath all the additional layers of complexity and sophistication in the human world and when I occasionally peer through and catch a glimpse of the underlying truth…well, it’s like a blinding sandstorm coming to an abrupt end. Billions of swirling, whipping, stinging, confusing grains of sand all fall to the ground at once and for a moment everything collapses into the deepest silence. It’s in those moments of stillness that I’ve experienced the deepest compassion…and also when I would tumble head over heels in love with my dying patients. I felt it again in your last lines:

    “No. Look, life

    Outlives

    Frost.”

    Beautiful.

    1. Oh Dia! The words you conjure with such apparent ease! I have a suspicion (which, by the way, is confirmed by visiting your blog) that this ease actually comes from experiences very few have a chance to, well, experience.

      This blinding sandstorm is just that, is it not? Blinding?

      I am going to be thinking a lot about these thoughts of yours for some time.

      Falling head over heels in love with parents in their twilight is an exhausting experience, I feel. And then, all of a sudden, the exhaustion gives way to incomparable gratitude — of being in this world because, for, by, with them.

      Thank you, Dia, for these thoughts.

    1. Gosh, thank you! I’ll see if I can write something worthwhile and worth everyone’s time, Amy. I know I’d love to.

      Thank you again.

    1. Dear Damyanti,

      Accept my deepest wishes of peace to your friend and his family. No words are enough, I know. And yet, they are just the thing that put salve on pains like these.

  11. I have never seen the literary form of etheree before your posts. Love it. The symmetry and composition is expansive in its limitations.
    Love the content of your writing this – life and death and eternity are always fascinating subjects for me. As you know!
    Love to you!

    1. I’d given up on poetry a long time back, knowing I don’t have the special elegance it requires. The crispness of a haiku and an Elfchen (a German form used to teach the language to the beginners.) were more manageable, I thought. But when I discovered etheree, I was tempted to try it out, and it worked well with my being. Thankfully. It’s enriched me in more ways than one.

      Life, death, and the dismissal of a dying person versus the intense protest towards an unexpected death fascinate me, too, Bela.

      Love right back!

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