at the breaking of the silver thread

at the breaking of the silver thread
the last umbilical
soul lays the body down
sleepily or violently awake
chance circumstance what matter?

and light as helium
relieved of a burden but not of habit
yet to know the hollowness of regret
must we die to understand the nature of living?

gives the nod to an experience
driven by a machine pumping
flesh entity throbbing identity
scratching feuding
till inevitability overcame

and if time’s still a measure
and a small feeling remains
a smile perhaps for a stiff
and horizontal slab of meat
cold and olding in cloth
slotted neat in a lacquered box
drenched in fresh violets and tears
blissfully unaware what those left do
consign to ground or sprinkle on a river wind

not upon a time then what?
differences argue their paths

an O lowercasing in others’ memory

a friend waiting
to introduce an idyll estate
cashmere soft cottonwool cush
silky safe endlessly awake
with views of itchy mortality
who wouldn’t settle for that?

a fifth season arranging new
greenness and moments of birth
now with the spirits of lakes and heights
the stirs beneath leaves
a seed awaiting patters of rain

expansion beyond dimensions
and laws as galaxies push out
a thoughtyear spectrum
instantaneously equal
in the company of behemoth star
white dwarf pulsar quark
bottom top up down charmed and strange
energetic as nobles are inert
sanguine to the suck of black holes

thought of every thought
all thought here there apart
part and whole in universal pulse
on the way to ends and starts
that never are
once upon a time

50 thoughts on “at the breaking of the silver thread

  1. “on the way to ends and starts/that never are /once upon a time”: This calls to mind the chaos of nature, the abrupt starts, the unexpected stops: life, death…It is not a fairy tale.

    well done!


  2. A brilliant poem, John – almost a treatise on mortality and longing. Your chosen structure is excellent as it makes the reader alter pace which emphasises meaning, as does your clever use of alliteration. Packed with imagery and symbolism this is definitely a poem to return to!

  3. I have been thinking of this house I call my body. I consider also my latent insight that all is made of spirit – not just this inner observer that is supposedly “me.” And, I have renewed honor for what we like to call our “husk.” For, I wonder at the thought of conscious spirit matter choosing to organize itself so as to give me this form. Perhaps, it is not simply biological mechanics from which I will someday be released. Maybe each cell is its own beautiful expression of the One Spirit and my body and I converse in omnipotent language.

  4. Towards the end, others begin to mourn, but you give the possibility of what was, is – the second stance wraps it up as life closes in. The last stance says to me, off we go into the universe of being as new energy and a new cycle begins. Intriguing John – enjoyed this piece.

  5. I always read what you write several times because there is always something new I find. Loved the lines “expansion beyond dimensions
    and laws as galaxies push out”
    I just finished reading an article that described the probabilities that our galaxy formed, our solar system became, and life on earth happened as so miniscule as to be completely improbable. Unless there was Someone behind it.
    Lovely, John.

  6. Wow. The lowercase O you mentioned reminded me of the Ourorboros, and the circle of life and so much of the ideas in my last post. Chance occurrences that seem like they mean something in my life, like they’re pointing to some kind of higher order to the universe, have often lead me to reach out, thinking some divine being is offering me something, just for it to pass through my grasp like a mirage, never becoming what it seemed to promise. It makes my life feel like a comic joke sometimes, and leads me to skepticism about their being reason behind much of the apparent order of the universe I see. Life is full of wonder, but the wonder is not always full of promise. Anyways, I loved your poem brother!

    Best wishes!

    • Thank You, Ry

      and see what i said about your head teeming with ideas –
      another splendid example you ever sleep
      or is that too much of a sacrifice of time?

      Thank You, you are special


      • I sleep quite a lot actually, often 10 hours a night! I used to have terrible insomnia, and would wake up every few hours, but now I sleep all through the night! Every once in awhile I will have a few rough nights, but I always bounce back and sleep great again soon after. Believe it or not, it’s only been recently that I’ve been spending more than a few hours on my posts. The haiku, tanka, kanshi and sonnets I write, I usually crank out in a single day. These days I try to balance my time more, so I can do other things besides write all day. I love writing, but I sacrifice too much of my time to it. I think posting every day was making me too hard to keep up with for some people! Since I started blogging less frequently, I’ve noticed I get more comments on my posts, so it’s a fair trade I think, getting to be more social.

  7. Thrice have I experienced this phenomena, nearing death from grave illness. What remains of this man’s impression is the absolute peace and comfort. Not much to take away from the monumental event in every life you say. What more need be said than absolute peace? Your work while not exactly as I experienced it quickly brought the preeminent feeling sharply into focus once again. An absorbing write for this reader my friend.

  8. John…I agree with another commenter…I read your poems more than once. I see them in my mind…like a movie projector playing scenes. And when I read it a second time, the scenes can change somewhat…but the integrity of your words remain! I get a lot of meaning from your words and I am grateful to have you in my life! ❤

      • Thank you, dear John 🙂 I am very moved by your work! Things are finding their level. I got very sick with the flu but feel I just turned a huge corner today when I woke up 🙂 Time to get back to work 🙂 Thanks John ❤

  9. A wonderful series of reflections on life and death. This work makes demands on the reader but as Winnie says, “And so it should, a serious work should make demands.”
    Splendid writing.

    • Thank You, Harry and Winnie for the great comment.
      I hope the year is off to a good start for you.
      I’m sure you’re looking forward to the tennis down under.
      With love


  10. John, stunning poem! You certainly had my mind tumbling over itself, how can one avoid these thoughts, as we stand on the edge of the slippery slope? This is now in the No. 1 position on my long list of JF favorites! Every line took my mind on some wonderful visual journey! Fantastic and an absolute favorite! Here, such a lovely stanza and the idea of a fifth season, remarkable:

    “a fifth season arranging new
    greenness and moments of birth
    now with the spirits of lakes and heights
    the stirs beneath leaves
    a seed awaiting patters of rain”

    I find the final stanza is equally as lovely, if not more so!

    Always warm wishes,

  11. Perhaps the most engaging, skillfully crafted of your writings I have seen and embraced to date John. Your words bring on whole new dimensions as examining the unknown through the lens of a microscope, bewildering, fascinating, so far-reaching and yet so wonderfully near…a discovery of powerfully divergent streams of consciousness through the poet’s heart, mind and soul. This is rare and with such undistracted engagement even rarer.

    I am truly enriched having been here.

  12. I missed this John, I am struck by the comment above, the lovely universe inside your head, thank you for allowing us in there, its fascinating.

    • Sometimes and only sometimes, Holly,
      my little universe is pleasing; other times
      I’m not so sure of its value.

      Thank You, Friend
      for your wonderful support of my work.

      Love and Big Hugs


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