"The Sister's Grave" by Thomas BrooksPoetry on the Passing of the Poet’s Wife, Part II, by Peter Hartley The Society September 8, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 27 Comments No Longer There I wonder if a change has come about. No longer do I feel that she is there As physical a being in her chair To me as I to her. My words ring out And they receive no answer but they flout The silence of the grave. I’m still aware Her presence thwarts self-pity and despair: Her spirit still bedecks the house throughout With declarations that her goodness wore And every kindness that set her apart From you and me. Each day I thank God for Her warmth and for the wellspring of her heart. I like to think her soul, unknown to vice Is welcome this day forth in Paradise. Unlike the Cheshire Cat Unlike the grin upon the Cheshire Cat Her smile for me will last a thousand years. While all the rest so shortly disappears Somehow it’s easy to forget all that While we had so much time to sit and chat. As eyesight fails internal vision clears. But now she’s dead and no more sees nor hears I never knew the world could be so flat. And she deserves my sorrow and my tears, Deserves them all through my remaining years, Deserves to know I think of her and grieve. Though she receive no pity please believe My sadness lies unsought upon the shelf Because she bore no pity for herself. The Courage of a Lion I wish I’d told her long ago how brave She was before quietus, her godsend. Her lion’s heart insisted that she spend Last Christmas dying but alive, to stave Off death that day and spare her children, save Her grandchildren, by force of will contend With her extinction and delay the end To mitigate their pain beyond her grave. A sad end met the courage she displayed Yet this was one more way she proved her worth, And nothing did she covet on this earth But happiness in others she purveyed. Now all around her know she truly found Her peaceful ground aloft by heaven bound. Peter Hartley is a retired painting restorer. He was born in Liverpool and lives in Manchester, UK. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 27 Responses Leo Zoutewelle September 8, 2020 Such words of beauty and love – though your own, they must give you peace and comfort! God’s blessings upon you. Reply Peter Hartley September 8, 2020 Leo – your comments are gratefully received and always so sincere.Thank you. Reply mary crow September 8, 2020 Such beautiful and subtle music these mysterious pieces make. Reply Peter Hartley September 8, 2020 Mary – Thank you for your comment and particularly for the comparison with music which I oftenfind so much more pictorial than pictorial art can ever be. Reply Julian D. Woodruff September 8, 2020 Heartfelt and finely wrought, Mr. Hartley. Especially impressive to me are the lines beginning “And she deserves …” Reply Peter Hartley September 8, 2020 Julian – Thank you very much for your comment. The bit that you mention is one of those that comes straight out of the head and straight onto the paper without even thinking about it, as very occasionally happens on a good day. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 8, 2020 Peter, these sonnets are smooth, flawless, and full of admirable poetic device, yet the form never once detracts from the message they convey. A brave and selfless lady is immortalized in a series of wondrous images that say so much in their beauty and their brevity. The words shine with a love that transcends mortality – words that humble me. For me, this line says everything about grief; “I never knew the world could be so flat”. It makes my heart ache. Very well done, indeed. Reply Peter Hartley September 9, 2020 Susan – Thank you so much for this thoughtful and accurate summary and generous appraisal of my three little poems. The message as you have interpreted it is spot on, so too the emotions you describe are exactly those I wanted to invoke. Any beauty in these lines though is solely a reflection of the nature of their subject, as their brevity lies in the strictures of Petrarch. It is I who should feel humbled that you can be so moved by what I wrote, and so fluent in your ability to express it. Reply E. V. Wyler September 8, 2020 Peter, please accept my heartfelt condolences on your wife’s passing. The beautiful sentiments you crafted will (no doubt) help others who also grieve the loss of their lifelong partner. The final sentences in your 1st and 3rd poem are extremely powerful. Reply Peter Hartley September 9, 2020 E V – Thank you for your condolences. I’m afraid, though, that my ill-favoured efforts are unlikely to help anyone until I am famous and I won’t be famous while there are so many fine poets at SPC so far ahead of me in the queue. Thank you so much for your kind remarks and encouragement. Reply Peter Hartley September 9, 2020 Margaret – Thank you for your comment and particularly for the astute observation that, unlike the first ones, these three poems are less about death and more about their subject, as with time the memory of the last few days and hours and minutes recedes to allow memory of the life as a whole to bring a little perspective to the unremitting sadness of that final scene. And your comment about the internal rhyme in the last couplet is a useful reminder that it isn’t just a form of decoration but should be used in the right place as a kind of emphasis too, the best place to put adjectives we want to stress as strongly as we can. Margaret Coats September 8, 2020 Very beautifully done, Peter, and unlike the earlier group of sonnets on this subject, these are not about death but about Dina. I feel I know her. These sonnets may be Shakespearean, but in “The Courage of a Lion,” you have added a truly Petrarchan touch with the internal rhyme perfectly placed in both lines of the couplet. The Italian poet adds a little something like this at places where he wants a very special effect. It’s easy to see that you are aiming for truly unique effects in everything about these poems. Reply James A. Tweedie September 8, 2020 Peter, As with Part 1, you have succeeded in touching our hearts by opening your own heart to us. What makes these poems so effective is that they give every appearance of having been being written for your benefit rather than ours. The irony of love is that the deeper it is, the greater the pain when it is lost. The depth and beauty of your love is manifest in your pain—which, in this sense, is also beautiful. And the love and the pain are both exalted by the crafted beauty of the sonnets themselves. Reply Peter Hartley September 9, 2020 James – You articulate my aims in composing poetry far far better than I do, as evidenced, inter alia, by the thoughtful words above. Even at your most prosaic you pen prose like a poet. You write above that “The irony of love is that the deeper it is, the greater the pain when it is lost”. Another of the ironies of love is that we wait till those we care about most are dead before we suddenly discover the virtues we ignored or took for granted while they lived. Death is the usual opportunity for the bereft to appraise the virtues of those they care about, by which time it is too late to do anything about it in response. Reply Peter Hartley September 9, 2020 Evan – Have you had any more thoughts along the lines of publishing a) my mouth-organ and b) my highland bagpipes? Susan Jarvis Bryant September 9, 2020 Peter, I’m still waiting for the marvel of your lyrical mouth organ and wonder of your poetic highland bagpipes. I’m trusting Evan will thrust these promising pomes into the limelight soon. Peter Hartley September 9, 2020 Susan – I’m sure Evan will succumb in the end. After all we share a penchant for Handelian opera and diatonic semi-tones, and Jimi Hendrix did once move in next door. Btw there was a rare typo in your last post that had me stuttering nervously for an hour or two till I’d had all my injections. I know a pome is a botanist’s term for a member of the apple family and I thought that can’t be what she means, so I looked it up in Chambers, to be confronted with “the enlarged fleshy receptacle enclosing a core formed from the carpels (bot)…. ” I thought, I’m not reading any more of this filth. Anyway after a couple of sedatives I felt more able to cope with things. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 9, 2020 Ah, my cunning plan worked. I knew immediately your fine, literary eye would home in on this delicious linguistic treat and chew over this tasty lexical morsel for a future opus. One person’s “filth” is another person’s fantasy… “pome” has so many possibilities. I am sure (after just one more sedative) you’ll produce a pome piece that will eclipse all mouth-organs and bagpipes! Reply Peter Hartley September 14, 2020 A gnome had a cranial dome And a peristome broad as a pome, When a metrical foot Was applied to his butt It would save him his taxi-fare home. Susan Jarvis Bryant September 14, 2020 Peter, congratulations! The internal rhyme in the opening two lines is genius, and I bet no one has used gnome/dome/peristome and pome together in one poem! I do, however, feel the RSPCG (the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Gnomes) may well have something to say about the the metical foot. Peter Hartley September 10, 2020 Susan – Where did your last post go??? Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 10, 2020 Peter, if you mean my comments, I have three – they’re #7, 16 & 18 from the top of the page. Reply Peter Hartley September 10, 2020 Thank you, Susan. Number eighteen decided to go AWOL on a short break into the troposphere for a few hours but has now returned bearing the tan of a trecento walnut. Reply Mike Bryant September 10, 2020 Peter, There is definitely a ghost in this machine. For some unknown reason Sally Cook’s comments disappear from Susan’s iPad while they are in full view on mine. This place is haunted. Reply Peter Hartley September 10, 2020 Susan – There you go again: “refreshed and blessed with the zest of…” How can anyone compete with that? You could alliterate the birds from the trees and assonate them all back again. Mike – It may be because your wife has what looks suspiciously like a double-barrelled surname. I-pads find them notoriously difficult to handle, but what might work is a sharp blow from a 2 1/2lb lump hammer centre left. Then take it back to PC World and tell them it was already smashed when you opened it. Susan Jarberry September 11, 2020 Peter, please don’t let my name dictate the destruction of your iPad – I’m changing it to Susan Jarberry in the interest of keeping the lump hammer from smashing its screen. Susan Jarvis Bryant September 10, 2020 Ah yes, I see it! It is indeed looking sun kissed, refreshed and blessed with the zest of a Sicilian lemon. I’m glad it’s back where it belongs. 🙂 Reply Leave a Reply to Leo Zoutewelle Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.