Before the Darkness 

a rondeau

Before the darkness brings about the night
and steals the world’s colors from your sight,
paint all your memories in vivid hues.
Let not the darkness be the path you choose.
Nay! In your dreams, keep every color bright!

You cannot halt the fading of the light,
or still your heart when shadows cause you fright.
So now, decide what defense you will use
___before the darkness.

Your darkening fear will offer no respite.
Alas, when all their courage’s taken flight,
the strongest men, their battles sometimes lose.
When you most want to hide, you must refuse;
hold firmly in your heart the day’s delight,
___before the darkness.


Safe and Warm

a kyrielle

For forty years and more you’ve held my hand.
You’ve seen me fall, and always helped me stand;
there is no danger I’m afraid to face,
___when I am safe and warm in your embrace.

You’ve shared my name, my heart, my life, my bed;
you’ve shared the dreams I’ve had within my head.
I’ve always known, your charm and gentle grace
___have kept me safe and warm in your embrace.

We raised our kids, and helped raise their kids too;
been up and down, and back, a time or two.
I’ve never had to fear losing a race…
___they all end safe and warm in your embrace.

We’ve learned in life, there will be raging storms,
but rainbows, after clouds disperse, will form.
My harbor’s always been here just in case,
___you need me, safe and warm in your embrace.

In sickness and in health you’ve stood by me,
together we have built a family.
Regret and doubt, you’ll find there’s not a trace,
___nor sadness, safe and warm in your embrace.

Our time together here now nears its end.
Try not to cry my love, my wife, my friend;
my faith has always had a steady base,
___you’ve held it safe and warm in your embrace.

The light is fading fast—it’s time to go.
Never forget, I‘ve always loved you so!
Kiss me. I must your lips one last time taste,
___lingering safe and warm in your embrace.

I’ll be with you each night inside your dreams;
For Heaven is much closer than it seems.
Hold tight to me as I slip from this place,
___forever safe and warm in your embrace.


At The End

a circular novelinee

Alas, my loves, I think I soon must go,
As dusk has fallen, and my time’s at hand.
Ah, children, there’s one lesson you should know–
Aging, and time, have made me understand.
All of the negatives we’ve ever felt,
Any hurts that we’ve buried and denied;
Anger about the bad hands we were dealt
And wretched bitterness we’ve tried to hide,
Are washed away, like sand against the tide.

As grief and pain, like sand against the tide,
Are washed away, our hearts are free again
And we can choose just what to let inside
After deciding to let go of pain.
Against the love that’s left, nothing can win,
All of the world’s problems amount to naught
Any of you can choose now to begin
Applying all the lessons love has taught,
And storing deep the joys that can’t be bought.

Always embrace the joys that can’t be bought
Assist a friend in need without a care,
And render aide without a second thought.
Ask after those with whom you can’t be there,
Avoid leaving unsaid the words of praise,
And make sure those you do love, always know,
As no one knows the number of their days.
Ah! Gather close and kiss me, eyes aglow,
Alas my loves, it’s time for me to go.


Dusty Grein is an author, poet and graphics designer from Federal Way, Washington. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest, where his daughter is hard at work securing her college degree while still in high school, and raising him right. When he is not busy writing, he donates a great deal of his time and graphics talent. In honor of his grandson Eddy, lost to SIDS at 13 weeks old, he creates free memorial images for bereaved families, with a special focus on infant and pregnancy loss. His blog, From Grandpa’s Heart… is followed by fans around the world.

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3 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    Dusty, Apart from the profound insight you have embedded in these poems, the common, end-of-life theme raises the question: What inspired them?

  2. Martin Rizley

    Very moving meditations on one of the greatest of all themes in poetry– separation from those we love. Like Mr. Tweedie, I am also curious about what inspired these heart-rending expressions of tender affection for your family and sadness at the thought of leaving them– but curiosity aside, thank you for sharing these poignant verses written from the heart

  3. C.B. Anderson


    In all three poems you have snatched rays of light from the shadow of melancholy, and I commend that. But, if you don’t mind, I would like to make some observations about metrics &tc.

    In the rondeau (S 1, L 2) you treat “world’s” as disyllabic. Though I view it as a monosyllable, your license permits you to treat the liquid letter “L” as a vowel, so no harm done here. In S2, L3 you treat “defence” as a trochee instead of an iamb, which is nonstandard. Again, this is a venial transgression. But in S3, L1 you appear to be trying to rhyme “RES-pit” with “flight” & “de-LIGHT, which doesn’t fly. To bring this home, “de-Spite” and “RES-pite” simply do not rhyme.

    In the kyrielle, all is well until S3, L3, where “losing,” a trochee, interrupts the otherwise regular meter. Now, it’s sometimes necessary to make such substitutions, but the issue could be avoided by rendering the line as:

    I’ve never had to fear I’d lost a race…

    Or something like that. The last two lines of S5 are syntactically and grammatically nebulous, and, therefore, difficult to parse. In S6, L2 you need a comma after “cry” because you are addressing someone whose appositional epithets directly follow.

    As you must imagine, I have no idea of what “a circular novelinee” might be, and I withhold any comments, because I’m sure this is getting tedious for both of us, though I am certain I could nitpick the piece on grounds similar to those laid out above. In sum, I respect your work, but I would suggest that you pay more attention to detail, which is something well within your natural capacity.


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