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Passing Thought

by Zettel 

Posted: 06 May 2019
Word Count: 102

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Passing Thought

If there is something after
dying to this world
Know this
You will be loved. Cherished. Held. 
Thought is spirit, spirit thought 
And you will be known 
Recognised. Kept safe . 
In memory in thought in love
My presence shall in my absence be
Your world a place where I once was
Where I once loved  
My love returned
A presence you still feel
But can no longer see
In thought in spirit 
I will never leave you
You shall not be alone
I will wait to greet you
When your seasons end
My child my love my friend. 

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 20:28 on 07 May 2019  Report this post
Hello Zettel – The central idea of this poem is one that can be difficult to articulate, but you have expressed it in a poem that works well. The idea as I understand it (I hope it’s what you meant) is that when we speak of ‘life after death’, it takes on a very real meaning if we think of the deceased living on in the memories of his/her loved ones – being still ‘present’ in that sense. Such memories can be very clear and very detailed; together they amount to a continuing ‘presence’. There are also physical features and aspects of personality and character which have been inherited; the deceased lives on in that sense. As I say, your poem expresses this idea very well. There’s a concise epigrammatic style, as in the two lines which I feel are key to the whole poem:
My presence shall in my absence be
Your world a place where I once was

Though I am absent, I shall be present. It’s true. On a personal note, my father died in 1951 but he is still present, vividly so. I don’t literally hear his voice, but I hear it in my head; I vividly recall particular experiences, as when he taught me how to drive a horse and cart. My world is a place where he once was. (Sometimes I give personal responses like this because I believe that if the poem rings true with me it will ring true with other readers too. People will think of a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather and say they are still a living part of one’s present life.)

There are other lines I could quote. ‘Recognised. Kept safe’ is excellent, especially ‘Kept safe’ – which contains the idea that one wishes to keep loved ones safe, protect them from whatever would hurt them; and also the idea of keeping their memory, their ‘presence’ safe for as long as we live. I like the simplicity of
I will never leave you
You shall not be alone
which sounds like a lover’s promise to his beloved, but can also be a promise made to someone who is soon to die ‘to this world’.

Each line takes the development of the idea a step further. I have the impression that you have given time and much care to the writing of this poem; I can suggest one possible change but otherwise I can’t find fault. It’s clear, thought-provoking and works well.

The change would be around those two key lines:
                          Kept safe 
In memory in thought in love.
In my absence, my presence:
Your world a place where I once was

No full stop after ‘safe’ as I think the next line follows naturally as the conclusion of a sentence. And the next line rearranged to make it even more epigrammatic!


Zettel at 23:51 on 07 May 2019  Report this post
Thanks James. As ever you have read me absolutely correctly.

Absolutely agree about no stop after 'safe': the ideas link and connect better that way and thus the flow at that point with just that single tiny change is much improved. I like your suggested rewording of the next but one line but I haven't changed it just for this reason: I think the idea that it is the absence from a world they once inhabited that is the only, and therefore painful, sense of a continuing relationship with the grieving that goes beyond just memory; is a difficult, complex idea. Easier to communicate in prose: e.g the sense that there is a permanent void, a something missing, from one's whole world now that the loved one cannot be seen, touched , spoken to. but is smehow more than just a memory.

It seems to me that your distilled expression of this is poetically superior but for me speaks best to those who already feel and understand this somewhat paradoxical idea. My version is not as succinct but for me it gives any reader, not just the one already tuned in to the idea, just that little bit more to get hold of that might make it easier to embrace an idea that many would reject or dismiss.

But thanks for the absolutely apposite recommendation.



James Graham at 20:50 on 08 May 2019  Report this post
Thanks, Zettel. I'm glad this was helpful. The line I changed perhaps doesn't have to be the way I suggested; what do you think of
My presence shall be in my absence

All this does is avoid the somewhat archaic inversion of syntax, which makes it sound almost like a line in Shakespeare rather than a 21st century statement. I don't think the change diminishes the effectiveness of your line. But of course it's up to you.

You're right - the poem does succeed in giving 'any reader...just that little bit more to get hold of that might make it easier to embrace an idea that many would reject or dismiss'. It surely would give even a sceptical reader pause for thought.



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