This Poem was Submitted By: C Arrownut On Date: 2003-09-01 22:52:00 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Departed Spirits

Dr. Gayle F. Arrowood 530 W. Devonshire #60 Hemet, CA 92543 (909) 766-8075 Departed Spirits Through the gates lies the two and a half acres where he golfed his retirement; his van that took me to art classes still in the garage.  The garden sprouts to his tune.  The treelings he planted in front of the house, the fruit trees in back thrive like a memorial to him, the tombstone he’s yet to have; the stray cats he’d fed, gone; now mice lurk in dark corners scratching.  His dogs mimic Cerberus howling at the door, awaiting his return.  In the living room his blue chair near the fireplace he always kept crackling in the winter; the dining room table with his books, the cartoons he cut from newspapers, his keys, my favorite toys as a child, like his humor—gone as his spirit is. My recovery complete.  Talking to mom as she frantics the buttons on her electronic Black Jack game.  Then to his bathroom as if entering Hades, the warm glow like the fireplace permeating the small room.  I can hear the shower no longer nursing him back to life after the night’s darkness; can smell the smoke from the forbidden cigarette and hear his cough like mine, the one that jolted mom just six months  ago right after he died; can almost see the newspaper he always read to refuel his satires.  Listen!  I hear him creeping on the back porch.  His spirit still here cleansing me as if he lives, but only in my head and heart because, unlike the earth, the soul and goblins don’t exist.

Copyright © September 2003 C Arrownut

Additional Notes:
I hope to make some contact with others who are going through the throes of the death(S) of loved ones. The attitudes described herein are not abiding ones, simply things which crossed my mind at that phase of the griefing process. Hope to hear from others in the same spot.

This Poem was Critiqued By: Litz Herschel On Date: 2003-10-05 19:10:18
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
C. What a moving poem! Definitely reminds me of the loss of my parents several years ago. I still miss them terribly. Somehow that doesn't end. But to your poem. Excellent images reveal both father and narrator. What he did for her, animals, gardens, and probably things she learned from him. The narrator's feelings toward this man are shown quite sharply in the images. Excellent Poem. Thank you for sharing this one with me. This is a topic many of us are compelled to deal with at times. You're not alone. Litz

This Poem was Critiqued By: Ellen A. Morris On Date: 2003-10-05 17:41:17
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.25000
Hi C., Your poem is a beautiful rendition of a man and the things and people he treasured. Your images are concrete and right to the point, yet ring with a beauty of language. The loss is obviously hard and the narrator is going through the despair and anger at God phase of grief. Perhaps even the why's are a silent scream. Excellent poem. I could identify with it so well because I come from a large family and have experienced the process of grief so many times. And at least for me it hasn't gotten any easier. This poem really deserves to be placed in a literary journal. It's precious. Ellen
This Poem was Critiqued By: Darlene A Moore On Date: 2003-10-01 09:42:39
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.44000
You draw in the sites of his presence well. He permeates a place. Both in the house and your mind. Very vivid descriptions help us visualize as well. Enjoyed the gardening themes, pet themes, house themes... but is treelings a word ?saplings. Understand...lost my father in '01. However, he left no place I was familiar with, a condo in some Texas border town 1200 miles away. But I have his desk, a piece of his pride...he refinished it himself all 200 lbs. of it (solid mahogany) and his ashes are hiding in the cedar chest until we decide where to put him (sibling indecisions). However, I feel confident his soul is still in existence...sometimes I feel him smiling somewhere behind me.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Irene E Fraley On Date: 2003-09-26 23:02:46
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.44000
The use of environmental description used to set a mood is very well done here. As a memorial this is a wonderful poem, as you recount the things that are inextricably tied up in the memory of the departed. The sense of loss is well built by the list of things that are not there, the cats, he cats, the loved one. The dogs howl. "I can hear the shower no longer nursing him back to life after the night’s darkness;" I have to admit that this confused me, as I have a very concrete mind sometimes. I was impressed by this poem as it used physical objects so well to let the reader feel the emotions of the poet. Nice work, and I am very sorry for your loss. Rene Fraley
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2003-09-21 11:31:52
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.75000
Hi C! How it is poignant this poem is written! A commemmoration of the person dear whose life was so dear and valuable his loved ones. The speaker seems to the closest to him, the speaker is the son of the this great person who observed everything in quantum to macro perspective, i.e. from the tiniest stuffs to the biggest ones. It is not quite clear how this person died so one could not feel how painful was the death. I hope not! But the pain was very much bore by his loved ones. Of course, everyone could relate the story. It is always griefing and mournful if lives are taken away in the Grace of our Lord! I had one griefing moments when my older brother passed away in the Grace of God, I was still a child at that time but I already felt too much pain. How much more the pain the speaker is felt because he already lived for how many years together with his departed loved one. C, I like the way you presented the experience of pain. You have made clear every details of the works and attitudes of that departed loved one. In the first stanza, you started the scene outside the house of that person and then proceeding to the inward part and then take a peep outside by the back porch. The poem is presented just like presenting a story with its key elements: scene, character,etc. And this story is broken into stanzas with fours lines. You attempted to have at least the same meter by entering the part of a long sentence to the next line. And it seems to click very effectively. I like the way your descriptions go..... The garden sprouts to his tune. The treelings he planted in front of the house, the fruit trees in back thrive like a memorial to him's like compensating the sad sentiment and lessens the poignancy. His dogs mimic Cerberus howling at the door, awaiting his return. The association of Cerberus makes uplifted the originality of the piece. In Greek & Roman Mythology, Cerberus is described as a three-headed dog guarding the entrance to Hades. Is is effective to create an impact as you also mentioned the Hades to describe the bathroom where the warm glow like the fireplace permeating the small room. Just a little comment here: Talking to mom as she frantics the buttons on her --I am doubting the use of 'frantics' as a verb here! Or maybe this is a technical term used in Black Jack game? There seems to be horror here: Listen! I hear him creeping on the back porch. One can relate the experience as if it is a ghost! It's frightening! The use of imperative "Listen!" seems to let the readers participate in the scene! And it is a good point. But of course, it's only in the mind: but only in my head and heart because, unlike the earth, the soul and goblins don’t exist. You just ended the piece effectively. Even the spirit departed, still it lives forever in your mind and especially in your heart. And you will never forget him forever. Thank you for sharing, C! Take care, Jordan.
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2003-09-14 20:41:13
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.60000
Hi C. This is a wonderful and well written tribute to your loved one..I assume it is your father. I have lost so many people in my family over the years but the most grievious to me where my parents and my husband. My father was first and I truly believed that I could not breath as I held his hand and he took his last breath. We (my husband and I) did not live in the same town as my parents and after we came home I lulled myself into thinking if I was not there to see he was gone...perhaps he wasn't gone after all. My husband made me go back and face his death and finally I was able to deal with it. My husband passed away after a long illness and I grieve to this day but have accepted his death. Six years later my mother passed away then to make matters worse my little dog died. When that happened I swore I would never love anyone or anything that much again as it was just too painful. Well a few weeks ago one of my children brought me a little dog..just to see what I thought..and of course she is so cute that I could not say no! I promise you will heal from this loss even tho you think now that you won't. Everyone goes through the grieving process in their own way...I always wished there was a rule book of some kind with step to follow that were fail safe.. but there is not. Writing this poem is a huge step and if you continue to write you will find that it helps to heal did for me and continues. I like this is well written and conveys the message you intended to send. My best to you and I hope you keep writing...not only to help you cope with this sadness but because I think you have a talent. Peace...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas H. Smihula On Date: 2003-09-09 09:55:56
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Poet you have done an excellent job in bringing back the memories of the departed within this readers mind. There spirit is always alive and you turn around sometimes expecting them to still be there. You have watched every aspect through the years of the whims and fancies, the tenderness and abruptness, their support and protection. My Grandmother was the closest to me for she was my protector. I can still see her sitting across the table at times as we play pinochle or canasta, with her being my partner. I still remember her walking me to school when a youngster, and especially remember her chasing the bullies away. She was a mountain of strength and gave everything she had for family and friends. I still think she is there sometimes looking over me, and that is after twenty years since we put her to rest. See that is what your poem did for me made me think of her and all the moments we spent together. I still remember helping her with the Christmas cookies, Norwegian Crowns, Sugar, etc…then placing the sprinkles on them. Over there was the Sugar Plum House on top of the China Cabinet, in those days it was only the lower section that was used not a glass display you find as the hutch. Do they ever go, the answer is no, for their spirit is there sometimes at night when you need them, when pressure seems so high and you need their presence. I still have the last card she sent my family on our dresser asking as to come and visit as if she knew that soon she would be gone soon. Now for the structure love the format and the way you present your thoughts. Great way of showing us the various moments in his life and how it effected you. This is poetry at its finest from the heart. Memories that we can write down and whenever in need to be able to pickup and remember the moments. This type of poetry never ends for each stanza makes one remember a little something else about the person. Love this piece of yours. Gayle, didn’t realize you were just around the corner, I live in West Riverside County. Maybe someday you can get out to Riverside and join a poetry group at Mugsby’s off of Arlington across from Sears. Rachel attends this one regularly, I have not for awhile but will be doing so again soon. Excellent poem. Tom
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-09-08 07:58:50
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
His spirit shall live forever within the lining of your heart and the images you set forth with each line certainly reflect that......there are so many wonderful images and memories of this fine man I assume is your dad........enjoyed the way you brought his love of the world around him within your circle of love as well for all of it was a part of his life that still remains behind. My dad has been gone for forty years and at times it seems like just yesterday he dropped me off at school for the last time.....the next I knew the priest from our church was coming to the high school to pick up my brother and myself as my father had just dropped dead without a warning. Sometimes that is a good thing for they have not suffered through an illness which has lingered and one in which you have watched them fade away in pain and sorrow.....yet the quick removal from one's life is so difficult. Dad too had a dog which mourned him in great detail and though it was a small dog its loss was deep. There are no easy ways of letting go of someone you love.....just know he has gone to a much better place known as heaven and yes my friend it does exists for I have travelled that road and is a place of peace, love and joy like none felt here on earth below and it is not all that far.....just the closing of one door and the opening of another.......there is no pain in death either if that might be a concern of yours.........there is though enless joy in the love of God. I enjoyed your read very much and your structure was in good form as were the words choosen to represent this wonderful man that you present with such care and emotions. I pray your mom is doing well now and that her pain in the loss of her husband eases over the months and years to follow....I look forward to more of your words in your future postings and till then be safe. God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: Andrea M. Taylor On Date: 2003-09-05 11:07:01
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
I enjoyed the visions in the poem. Having felt similar things in my son's bedroom. As time goes on, the room has been changed, but the images are still there. I enjoyed the flow of the piece. It let the mind capture the purpose with the read. I hope my email didn't offend you. Andrea
This Poem was Critiqued By: Sherri L Smith On Date: 2003-09-05 09:45:06
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Dear C, It has been nearly 18 years since I was in this position, but I remember it well. I would look up and could almost see my Mom sitting in my kitchen chair, begging me to play Yahtzee. Hear her cigarette cough, and smell her Avon perfume. I know what you mean. I have been there too, it passes, but it sometimes takes a very long time. Good poem, hope that it helps you work through the grief process. Sherri
This Poem was Critiqued By: Rick Barnes On Date: 2003-09-03 20:54:49
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
C. This is such a tender poetic album of wistful memorabilia. How deftly you place these memories about the rooms. It is touching the way you interlace your memories with the fragments in such a manner as to breathe the breath of your life into all that is left of one which has passed. And the tribute to the emptiness, "I canhear the shower no longer nursing him back to life after the night’s darkness;" that only those who realize what is missing could know. And you take the gift, so full of life "His spirit still here cleansing me as if he lives," so empty of form "but only in my head and heart because, unlike the earth, the soul and goblins don’t exist." This piece lives, breathes and endures. Well done C. Rick
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