In the painting, she has turned to look back
At where her lover’s  corpse lies in the  ground.
Her face is blurred; her dress, funereal black,
Stands out from  greenery flourishing all round.
Within the earth, nature will break him down
Till he is one with all that living green:
What is to come must grow from what has been.

His body, like all matter, is in flux,
its molecules, demolished into dust,
Reassembled like so many building blocks.
The arms that held the woman,  the lips she kissed
will, in a sense,  continue to exist –
As other things; nothing she’d recognise,
Nothing to dry the tears that fill her eyes.

The trees and grass know nothing about grief;
Nature recycles, and doesn’t give a toss,
A corpse no more important than a leaf.
But, like the widow, we are human – to us
The woman in her agonising loss
Is more important, in some way more true
Than any tree or flower that ever grew.


Daivd Whippman is a British poet, now retired after a career in healthcare. Over the years he’s had quite a few poems, articles and short stories published in various magazines. 

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6 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    This is truly a thought-provoking poem (and a very well-written one)!

  2. Dave Whippman

    Joe and the two Davids: thanks for your kind words, glad you liked the poem. It was inspired by a painting – not the one above (though I like it) but one by David Inshaw, “Our days were a joy and our paths through flowers” which I always found haunting.


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