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Monday, June 23, 2014


The Flight of the Robin

I returned to a last breath taken,
to a hand so warm and moist—
It could have been sleep.
In those quiet moments
before grief mushroomed up,
the morning held,
blue bright with weather
and relief.
We closed your eyes,
to a robin’s song,
trilling through the open window,
and as you traveled,
from here, to where,
we told you about him.
“Listen,” we said,
although you had no hearing,
had already lifted
into your own long flight.
Later, I sat,
while in another room
the business of mourning got on,
staring at your collarbone,
picturing the rise and fall
of your shirt, though it did not—
remembering how
in the still overnight, I’d curled
on the other bed,
listening to the phlegm
collecting in your lungs,
thinking there really is
a death rattle,  
heard you cough in
narcotic sleep,
watched you open your eyes,
to stare at the wall,
watched you close them again,
while around me,
the dim room ticked,
waiting like a clock.

Now, I picture the robin,
his call filling our ears
at the exact time you departed,
how somewhere unseen,
he would have whisked his wings,
soared on an updraft,
over the blooming dogwoods,
the purple azaleas,
how the rising sun
must have yellowed his feathers,
as he beat his way up,
into the open sky.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is so sad!!

mshatch said...

Wow. I think that's all I can say. Just, wow.

Oh, and you should submit this somewhere.

Carol Kilgore said...

Gosh. I'm at a loss for words. Sad and wonderful at the same time. You have a great talent.

Robin said...

Before I get to the actual poem... I am just so happy to see that you are writing poetry again. Is this something to help fire your imagination wheels?

This was lovely. The image of the robin and your loved one making the same, but different, journey... really wonderful. The soul is always in flight, just like the robin.

Jayne Martin said...

Wow. This is absolutely exquisite. I was so moved. And the photo at the top of the page is so beautiful. So nice to meet you, Lisa.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You made me cry. I felt like I was reliving the night at my father's side when he passed away. You caught the loss and hope perfectly.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Beautifully written! Watching and waiting for a soul to take flight is heart wrenching...

Ella said...

Bravo! Your poem was so well done. I could feel the emotion and then the ending-wow! I felt sad and uplifted~

Empty Nest Insider said...

This is such a deeply moving poem written from the heart. There is no greater pain than losing a loved one, and no better way to set his soul free. I'm so sorry for your loss, Liza.


Stephanie Faris said...

So beautifully written. Heartbreaking but with that little bit of hope at the end.

Lisa said...

This hit a little too close to home for me. I loved the bird being a part of this poem. When my father died, I had very much this same experience, yet it was the hum of the air conditioner in the VA Hospice that filled in the silence punctuated only by that "death" rattle. I was so tuned to him that after he passed all I could do was stand next to him, caressing him and loving him and crying. I did that for almost an hour, until they took him away...

Lisa said...

Liza, please know this was good for me to read. Yes, it made me sad but think about that. You made it happen. You hit the right cord. I thank you for allowing your emotions to guide you because that freed me to have mine as well.

klahanie said...

Dear Liza,

Poignant, painful, powerful and the freedom of the open sky.

Your lucid transparency is a gift you have shared. Verbalisation, a positive resource. Thank you, kind friend.


Jan Morrison said...

Liza, this is an exquisite poem. Thank you. Keep on ...