No Stranger To Death

No Stranger To Death

A Poem by William Michael Reeves
"

A Villanelle about the inevitable

"
No stranger to death am I
I ask of it in the words I write
I question it with a wordless why

I feel it in the tears I cry
I see it in my mind's sight
No stranger to death am I

I hear it listen to souls sigh
I sing it then tragic notes alight
I question it with a wordless why

I know it like I know the sky
I fly with it like birds in flight
No stranger to death am I

I watch it while the dying die
I cheer it as the living fight
I question it with a wordless why

I live it in the trade I ply
I call it into life I invite
No stranger to death am I
I question it with a wordless why.

2022

© 2022 William Michael Reeves


Author's Note

William Michael Reeves
I feel like I should explain one line. 'I cheer it as the living fight'. I worked in nursing homes for 10 years. Death was a regular part of life. I always considered it an honor to help someone through that final transition but never really got used to it. Break out in a nervous sweat doing post-mortem care. Somehow easier to watch my own people take their last breath than a stranger. Strangers that weren't strangers. I might have only a few days or weeks with someone or years. The human body will fight with everything it has to stay alive. Death was more often than not a relief. Death is the peaceful easy part but dying is a real bitch!

My Review

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Featured Review

I read your author's notes Bill and understand that you were in a position where death is part of your living day. Thank you for for the work you did. I am full of admiration for those in the caring professions. I have a mother and aunt in nursing homes. I wish everyone could have a peaceful death. Sadly I still have memories of my younger brother's last hours. His transition was not easy, it still haunts both my sister and I. I think seeing an elderly person slipping away after a good life span somehow, knowing that you are helping them in their final minutes, although sad, must give a degree of satisfaction. You were there for them. They did not die alone. Read your villanelle several times. Felt the need to do that today and to understand those final moments from your perspective. A sad and thought provoking read.

Chris

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Michael Reeves

4 Months Ago

Thank you Chris. It is hard work but with the intense emotion that can surround death comes equally .. read more



Reviews

My dad died at work all alone. Which caused me great grief as a child. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I could lay that pain down as I cared for my father-n-law.

As time goes I've attended the passing of many of my loved ones.
This I know, it is a honor to ease their fears and be with them in their moment of need.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Michael Reeves

3 Months Ago

It is an honor. To be there for strangers and our loves alike. I suppose that's part of maturity. Ac.. read more
Cherrie Palmer

3 Months Ago

I worked 5 years. In a nursing home and being there for them was so important. Because so many in a .. read more
William Michael Reeves

3 Months Ago

Now I'm beginning to understand why we seem to have connected even before knowing you. Our poetry sa.. read more
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Ada
We all come face to face with our own mortality at some point or another and your poem was an excellent reminder.

Posted 4 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

William Michael Reeves

4 Months Ago

Thanks Ada.
This is a strong poem born of experience and filled with thoughts to ponder.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Michael Reeves

4 Months Ago

Thank you. What poetry is, poetic ponderances perpetrated by poets.
JE Falcon

4 Months Ago

Positively
You are absolutely correct inwhat you have said in your authors note. When my father passed away in hospice I spent the entire time holding his hand through the entire process. Death was the relief from the suffering of dying. There was such an eerie calm that past in that final moment. Like wading into the ocean and allowing a wave to sweep over you. Into a place of harmonious serenity. To know that your breathing is futile in its eventuality. After what I experienced with my fathers passing I don't really fear death. I say that not out of any misnomer of bravery, but out of the fact I felt it. To me it was a cool breeze on a hot summer day.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Michael Reeves

4 Months Ago

That my poem stirred that memory and your sharing it with me is so profound! It means so much to me .. read more
I read your author's notes Bill and understand that you were in a position where death is part of your living day. Thank you for for the work you did. I am full of admiration for those in the caring professions. I have a mother and aunt in nursing homes. I wish everyone could have a peaceful death. Sadly I still have memories of my younger brother's last hours. His transition was not easy, it still haunts both my sister and I. I think seeing an elderly person slipping away after a good life span somehow, knowing that you are helping them in their final minutes, although sad, must give a degree of satisfaction. You were there for them. They did not die alone. Read your villanelle several times. Felt the need to do that today and to understand those final moments from your perspective. A sad and thought provoking read.

Chris

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Michael Reeves

4 Months Ago

Thank you Chris. It is hard work but with the intense emotion that can surround death comes equally .. read more
I agree that dying can be terribly sad and with much depression. I know 2 92 year olds that are dying and can't wait fir the peace of death to come. They are both in an assisted living place, so depressing. All they ever say, is I want to die already!
Best, B

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

William Michael Reeves

4 Months Ago

The dying are usually ready. It's those around them that make it hard. Obviously we could have a who.. read more

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6 Reviews
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Added on January 15, 2022
Last Updated on January 15, 2022
Tags: Death, caregiving

Author

William Michael Reeves
William Michael Reeves

Seattle, WA



About
I live in Seattle. I have been a nurses aide most of my life and my experiences as a caregiver for people with disabilities has inspired much of my poetry. I love the puzzle of poetry. Expression with.. more..

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