Poetry and a Pine Box

#glueittuesday #artistbook #collage xoS


by William Stafford

Before our time, before years that said no
when anyone passed a church and reverently
bowed, a soul somewhere might go
to heaven, just because of that bow.
And they all felt sad if a rooster crowed,
for something it reminded them of, a story
strong as the cables that hold up the world.
Nobody bows now if a rooster crows.

But maybe something you do, unknowing
or quick to react, without thought of gain
or loss – maybe that act goes on
over mountains or oceans and finds the same
salvation for you that bowing does.

It is larger now, the church is, and the life
we are in. In it we bow to everything.

Today a small funeral for my husband’s aunt, out in the Catskills at a grave site on a small road off a bigger road along a river.

Just dirt.

And a pine box.

Bowing to clay.

Bowing to a life, long lived and complicated.

Bowing to the hawks overhead and the patience of teen-agers, leaning in to listen to elders, these elders newly made by this passing.

They, who were once the

rangy teen agers, now, balding, scattered and full of laughter.

When I die, don’t bury me.

Compost me. Mix me in with the potato scraps and mango pits.

Turn me in to the roots of the rose bushes and rhubarb.

Let me live in the sweet air around you forever and a day.

Good bye Aunt Elsie.


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Showing 8 comments
  • Jim Lawrence

    Lovely Suzi. Our thoughts go to you all.

    • Suzi

      Thank you Jimmy! Looking forward to April Powderkeg Sessions and you, I hope! xo S

  • jennifergandinle

    A life lived nurturing, fueling, feeding your own passions and people. An after-life lived nurturing the earth and living things. I love this.

    Much love to you and to Aunt Elsie’s memory and to all who loved her, and love her still.

    • Suzi

      Indeed. Thank you JGL. Aunt Elsie made the way for us to have some great experiences together. Hugs to you, S

  • Tasha Miller Griffith

    Your wish sounds exactly like what I’d like to happen to my body – sometimes I wonder if reincarnation just means becoming the food for a bug and a tree, returning to the earth and to the ecosystem. My thoughts go to you too.

    • Suzi

      Thank you Tasha. You and your posts from the edge of the desert bring me so many great different images. I love your writing. And recipes. Thank you for spending time here on the Laundry Line!xo Love, S

  • Lorrin Krouss

    My heartfelt condolances to all. Life is a journey of trials and triumphs – remember the moments of joy and laugher.

    • Suzi

      We certainly do Lorrin. We have many of those memories. Thank you! xo S