Login   Sign Up 



by Zettel 

Posted: 15 September 2017
Word Count: 172

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

We are on a journey
all must take
do not ask how long 
only seek how well
Shall we meet again
though no one knows
such hopes remain
but it is better now
that we cannot tell
Have I loved
was my love returned
Was that love deserved
loved ones needs observed
Did my footprints go
in life's sometime bitter snow
towards the will to know
or wander reason without rhyme
a prisoner of time
Did I leave paths untrod
other’s pain uneased
was courage by my side
did kindness and compassion guide
Did I deserve the sacred gift of life
without the recompense of God
In freedom all is will
when I did not choose wisely
did I sometimes choose well. 
Though now I take my leave of you
my love abides undimmed
lover friend daughter son
no rancour left for anyone
Absence is my form of presence now
memory my place to be
from now until your journey's end
in loving heart and searching mind
please remember me

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

James Graham at 20:11 on 17 September 2017  Report this post
Hello Zettel – I’m still exploring and reflecting on this poem, which contains quite a number of thought-provoking lines and passages. For me it invokes the title of one of John Donne’s poems, ‘A Valediction, Forbidding Mourning’. It’s a review of a life and a request to be remembered – in a singularly positive way:
Absence is my form of presence now
memory my place to be

From a personal point of view, my wife having passed away four years ago, these lines strike a very true note and are memorable. That ‘absence’, while never of course a real presence, can become a very meaningful ‘presence’ in the memory; memories that seem not like recollections of scenes or events of many years ago, but that seem – as we say – ‘as if it were yesterday’. I’m sure these lines would strike a chord with many readers, even if not such a personal one.

I want to quote these lines too:
Did my footprints go
in life's sometime bitter snow
towards the will to know

This at first seems just a not very original metaphor for adversity – the path of life being sometimes wintry – but then ‘towards the will to know’ takes it to another level. ‘The will to know’ – to seek and find knowledge generally, and to ‘know’ in the sense of gaining understanding of the nature of life’s adversities, and how to rise above them. In other words, how to gain more wisdom and maturity. We’re not treading the snowy path aimlessly, hoping for the best, but with a purpose.

I will continue re-reading (with much pleasure) and follow up with another comment. So far there seems little need for revision, but something might still occur to me.


James Graham at 16:20 on 19 September 2017  Report this post
As a mild criticism, all I would say is that the first stanza seems weaker than the others, not because it has any less to say but because the rhyme is sparse. This is a poem which articulates truths – that is, things that you, the writer, believe to be true. (Even though some of them are formulated as questions; they are ‘rhetorical’ in the sense that they are asked in the hope of affirmative answers.). ‘Truths’ in the above sense are often best expressed in rhyme. Regular patterns of sound (and regular stanzas – yours are of 9 lines) reinforce the poet’s convictions. Having said all that, the rhyme of well/ tell in the first stanza does occur in what are perhaps the most important lines of the stanza.

Just one pair of lines strike me as veering too close to cliché: ‘who will shed a tear/ when I'm no longer near’. Possibly the same thought could be expressed in a more original way?
All that aside, the poem is full of well-considered thoughts, personal thoughts that could well be shared by others. I quoted some in my previous comment, but wouldn’t like to leave this out:
when I did not choose wisely
did I sometimes choose well
It’s a question I can ask myself, and the answer (I hope) is ‘Not always, but yes, sometimes’.

Zettel at 00:04 on 20 September 2017  Report this post
Thanks James. Points taken.

Efforts to address these made.

Your overall appreciation of the poem is as ever, much appreiated.



To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .