Death Related Poems
A. The Fun And Games At Diagnosis Stage Section
Triage - Oct/7/08 The threat of untreated terminal illness looms.
The Doctor - Oct/30/08 Possible medical error and
cover-up aggravates the possibility of death.
Alzheimer's - Oct/30/08 We often don't die all at once but lose some faculties.
The Church - Oct/30/08 Reference to stages of death.
The Apostle - Oct/30/08 References to two poems
about death - "Ulysses" and Cohen's poem.
Headlights - Nov/3/08 Reference to death of a deer hit by a car, collapsing horizon times, sudden and illogical appearance of cancer, unavailable lead time to avoid dealing with cancer.
Middle See - Nov/12/08 Reference to the ambiance surrounding serious life-threatening illness such as cancer.
NCI Chat - Nov/18/08 External 4-12-72 growth
progression exceeds the internal cancer growth curve. Community attention
in context of information regarding the amount of life(time) left.
Logical Confinement - Nov/22/08 Reference to near-death experience as a living hell.
The Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven - Nov/24/08 Panic at threat can end life so stay cool. Are you in this for my life or yours? The cost of tough love towards life.
The Ice Flow - Nov/25/08 Reference to peace on the faces of the dying which sustains the living. Reference to Inuit end of life by suicide that community might continue.
Pioneer Mom - Nov/26/08 Reference to two aspects of life threatening situations, quickie problems and longer term problems which require lifestyle changes.
Pay-Up Time - Dec.01/08Many do not want to hear clear honest and direct communications about life-threatening situations.
The End of the System-Mistress - Dec.02/08 Forced
retirement in face of possible death. Reference to institutional ways of
killing life of the living.
Because It's Time - Dec.03/08 Reference to Riel's execution and society's oppressive death. Reference to pressure on us to prematurely die or walk in other's agendas.
Tina - Dec.06/08 Reference
to abortion and the coming euthenasia of inconvenient presence of others,
vs. self giving life and love.
Giving Honor - Dec/08/08 Reference to faith vs medical healing of life-threatening illness.
Still Waters - Dec/09/08 A respite from the grim realities of long-term
The Vanguard - Dec/11/08 Reference to war and excellence in leadership and winning, and those who draw us in the fight for our lives to win.
Take-Off - Dec/11/08 Reference to doing what is required for sustainable
lifestyle change so as to circumvent cancer's recurrence.
- Dec/11/08 Reference to treacherous black ice in spring. Reference to
the loss of laughter with impending death and to the desire to balance out
relationships prior to death.
Future Present - Dec/11/08 The shift to living life in the present when facing death.
Morning Prayer - Dec/11/08 Reference to tomorrow may not be mine, or a drop in health before death.
- Dec/16/08 Reference - many of Jesus' disciples left when he spoke of his
impending death, and parallel with me too.
Radiant Beams - Dec/17/08 Reference to personally dying to the world's outlook and symbolic burial in baptism that life anew can better take place outside such silliness.
Transformation - The Woman From India - Dec/17/08 A solution to people falling
through the cracks (fatally).
Dare I To Hope
- Dec/20/08 Cancer's immune suppression let shingles virus release through
my body, and the role of hope in the battle back to health.
Dreams - Dec/22/08 Reference
to life beyond death. The issue of the place of possessions in life if we
lose all anyway. Loss of power at death. The parallel of twins being born to
The Chicken And The Pig - Dec/23/08 Reference to pilots participating in
the lives of their clients while doctors contribute only (in terms of cancer).
- Dec/24/08 Forcible removal of people from land and livelihood is the modern
method of homicide.
1946 - Dec/25/08 Reference to death in poverty and war and the indirect
effects of (venture) capitalism.
His Fleet - Dec/28/08 Symbolic portraits of several people all of whom face death of self or a loved one (as with me) and who do life in that context.
Remains? - Dec/29/08 Reference to Christmas while facing death and the
issue of saving and acquiring to stave off future death; memories; intangibles
of life that linger after death.
The "ology" of "Med'sun" - Dec/31/08 Impending insurrection (and death) in face of ruthless personal and corporate greed.
Borderland Delight - Jan/01/09 Reference to crash test dummies as a parallel to my research process.
Pump - Jan/01/09 Reference to premature death and the inability to fully
use research material already gathered.
Our Day - Jan/07/09 Reference to heaven and also to the stillness in the time before we hear good/bad results of our tests in situations of potential terminal illness.
The Swordsman - Jan/07/09 Fencing has roots in duels and death. Reference to pirates' life of death and destruction.
Eye - Jan/09/09 Awaiting news of results of tests with cancer; reference
to earthquake; war; abandonment on a mountain; and others facing the whirl
of facing death. Like prairie life with a succession of passing fronts of
B. A Shift In Locus Of Control Section
"Cure Day" -
Jan/10/09 The death of gullibility regarding doctors
"A Bullet Dodged" -
Jan/11/09 Reflection on the cult of perfection (vs. a good backup plan)
in the medical community when dealing with life and death issues.
End" - Jan/11/09 Reference to the problem of cases which fall outside
the normal range. Reference to how life threatening illness can drive people
apart owing to different destinations like a freeway.
"The Survivor" -
Jan/11-12/09 Reprieve from death slams us back into the world's imperative
to delineate boundaries of exclusion.
"Communion" - Jan/11/09 (Problems related to reprieve from death continued) Reference to some causes of war; insects killing the woods.
End -- A new Beginning" - Jan/12/09 Problems in health care system are critical
in life-death situations.
"Quality" - Jan/12/09 A brush with death leaves one changed raising new issues as life resumes.
For The Healthcare System...Hip Hip..." - Jan/21/09 Reflection on a two-tier
healthcare system from the point of view of those facing life-death situations.
Jan/21/09 Doctor quirks in the case of life threatening disease - potential
"Barack Obama" - Jan/21/09 Reference to a noted author contracted cancer from after effects of his chemical-based disguise.
"Mixing Drinks" - Jan/22/09 The alteration of good and bad turns in cancer has a gut wrenching effect on people.
"Getting Through Christmas" - Jan/22-23/09 Reference to killing fish and letting some go. The dizzying effects of near death experiences which linger after the reprieve.
"Faith" - Jan/23/09 Non-productive
people are vulnerable to termination in a capitalist society.
"More" - Jan/23/09 Reflection on shift from quantity to quality after a brush with death.
"Rural Chapel" - Jan/23/09 Reference to churches as shelter in time of death. Reference to a chemical laden death of a farmer's crop. Rural and urban people share chemically caused cancer.
"A Shifted Point Of View" - Jan/23/09 Prospect of photography and writing fro the point of view of a person reprieved from death.
"Terminal Generation" - Jan/25/09 Personal legacy is viewed by some as being terminal between same sex descendants within a family.
"C.V" - Jan/25/09 Not
all things end in death - some never exist.
"Joyful, Joyful..." - Jan/26/09 Facing death forces a shift in valuation after reprieve.
"Flight" - Jan/27/09 Reference to life being short and turning on a dime.
"The Tapestry" -
Jan/29/09 Reference to a scrape with death which slowed me down. Reference
to a point of view that transcends life's time boundaries in its effects on earth..
"The Cobra And
The Mongoose" - Jan/29/09 Reference to the deterioration of life from sick
to weak to dying for those not living interdependently in the body of humanity.
Reference to God slowing down such interdependent efficiency to prevent our
destruction of the planet.
Jan/31/09 Reference to the difference between facing death and facing life
at the time of my shifting from death to life track once more, at the 9 month
point since the start.
Feb/4/09 Reference to survival needs in life which must be met or we die.
"Resonances" - Feb/6/09 Reference to Jungian-type terrors which can last for generations after we die.
Feb/7/09 Reference to spurious factors which can affect diagnosis in terminal
"Over The Wall" - Feb/11/09 Reference to a war scene of self sacrifice to save others.
"Louis Riel Day
(Indian Health Care Song)" - Feb/16/09 Reference to First Nations man who
died of stomach cancer on aspirin only.
C. A Shift In Locus Of Operation Section
"Frost On The
Pain" - Feb/22/09 Issue of recurrence and worry and the decision not to go
there again - at best it is bitter.
"Between A Rock And A Card Place" - Feb/24/09 Issue of final crisis for individuals or world - cancer or otherwise.
"Mana" - Feb/24/09 Reference
to politics being of more interest to the living than the dead and as we
approach death our interest in it drops. Reference to the fact that prophets
of all stripes are stoned not paid.
Commitment" - Feb/27/09 Reference to the end of our lives approaching and
the time to give account owing to our age. The challenge of new commitment
to our tasks.
"The Gift" - Mar/06/09 Reference to the fading of the "collapsing horizons" issue for me.
"First Aniversary" - Mar/10/09 Reference to the stopping of the "now"with each new test, and exhaustion from the journey.
And The Dead" - Mar/12/09 Reference t oan old plant that is dying and needs
pruning. Reference to we being a mix of the living and the dead and also
need pruning. Perhaps the even worse road was removed inadvertently. Life
comes from the root to branches not the reverse - therefore you can prune.
"Slippage" - Mar/13/09 Reference to the need to cut out things that cause cancer or permit it to return, as a central part of life activity now.
"Lonesome Valley" - Mar/15/09 Reference to the cycles of tests and results which flags changes from road from death to life. They don't change the road, just our awareness of its nature. Reference to death from other causes. Don't be the living dead.
"Vacated Space" -
Mar/17/09 Reference to the death of my brother ad his one-year wind down
prior to that (and its parallel of me). Reference to lightning the ship so
as to win eh fight against cancer.
Mar/19-21/09 Reference to a person's deterioration and death after a long
period. Issue of what if we mate and die without making our social contribution
to family and community.
"Isaiah : Second
Edit of Readers 'Theater" - Mar/21/09 Reference to vicarious suffering including
death, and its effects on bystanders. Reference to new shoots appearing in a
burned over forest.
"Crossing Cultural Lines (And Third Culture Kids)" - Mar/22-23/09 Reference to 90 poems which arose from facing death.
"To Mentor" -
Mar/28/09 Reference to "evening" tasks needed to be done at the end of a
camp day and their parallels to my situation in life. (note response to this
poem in "the Play" June 09)
"Now" - Apr/02/09 Reference
to how our actions will feed people who will come after we have died rather
"Wilder Penfield" - Apr/02/09 Reference to the deterioration of all faculties except the spirit/soul which continues to mature at least till death.
"Genetic Train" - Apr/06/09
"Income vs. Outgo" - Apr/09/09
(Start Of Costa Rica Trip) " - Apr/13/09 Reference to ancestors who had
narrow scrapes with death and my own and wife's near misses with death. Reference
to the fact we live and die where we "get off the train".
of Things Hoped For " - Apr/15/09 Reference to a book on triumphing over
cancer and their questions which parallel those of marriage encounter's program.
"This Day " -
Apr/15/09 Reference to home based thoughts dominated by doom and gloom
- noticeably absent on holiday.
"Panama " -
Apr/15/09Reference to the Panama Columbia war. Reference to the refusal
to lie down and die.
"Systemic Sin " - Apr/17/09 Reference to guns and bombs in planes and pirates.
"New Lease On
Life " (End of the Costa Rica Trip)- Apr/19/09Reference to the time of reprieve
from death when"joyful"was written. Reference to the Balkan war. Hope expressed
to grow into a world bigger than the cancer nightmare.
In Perfection " - Apr/20/09 Reference to ecological brink.
Memory" - Apr/22/09 reference to danger of spending extended periods of
time beneath water.
D. Re-integration Of Photography Into Life – In Relation
To Cancer Section :
Roamin' catholic " - Apr/24/09-AM Reference to the Biblical choice of life
or death incident. Reference to stressors behind cancer.
End Of Time " - Apr/25/09 Reference to our individual dreads of end time
scenarios, a stress-package to us - which responds quite well to wisdom. Keep
the long view, get out of it as quickly as possible and get on with life rather
than let it pile up.
Chance " - Apr/30/09 Reference to a concentration camp situation and the
fact that nobody can remove from us our choice of response. Reference to an
imagined encounter with God after death.
"The Pebble In Our Shoe " - Apr/31/09 Reference to the enormity of a cancer diagnosis.
"A Watercolor " - May/03/09 Reference to death of a pet dog.
"Psalm 22's Love Passed Along " - May/03/09 Experience of a person in a hostile life-threatening situation.
"First Anniversary Of Diagnosis" - May/08/09 Reference to cancer life-threatening trauma.
Last Week" - May/09/09 Reference to pancreatic cancer as being (at present)
almost always fatal as breast cancer once was. Reference to French Revolution
Afraid" - May/10/09 Reference to the art therapy event as a "bomb" that
hit me. Removal of ticket (livelihood) is today's execution. Reference to UCC
on a "war footing". Reference to post death events with Father and Son. Reference
to stress breaking out in life-threatening situations and release through the
"The Creenglish Side Of Freedom" - May/10/09 Reference to the uniforms of an army to tell who to kill.
"Perspective" - May/10/09 Reference to anger's role in war.
out" - May/11/09 Reference to war's relation to vulnerability; to how war
in the world spills over into our lives; to three rules of high stakes risk
taking; to a movie of a wartime killing.
In Green Pastures - Expressions In Clay" - May/16/09 Reference to Sun Tsu's
Art of War book. Reference to photo release of stress
so cancer not return; to cancer being a great leveler of people; to inspiration
received from survivors to press through to stress resolution and not give
"Managing Losses" - May/17/09 Reference to reprieve from death; to wedding vows (till death do us part"); to war, riot and natural disasters.
"The Presence" -
May/20/09 Reference to the events after death; to an event at the time
of my father's death.
"This Wrinkled Clay" - May/23/09 Reference to cancer survivors at art therapy class
"Many Hands " - May/25/09 Solo work (rather than inter-dependent work)kills us.
"The Pastor " -
May/25/09 Reference to Jesus' ascension to heaven after death and resurrection.
"The Sun, The
Moon, And The Stars" (A Costa Rican Expression) " - May/25/09 Reference to
new tidal wave of fear sweeping over me with the news of a couple of spots on
my lungs of unknown nature; to courage of other cancer patients; to dad's death
from cancer and the kids out fundraising to end the scourge. Reference to Scrooge
and his post-death-event dreams. Reference to being called fool, dummy, stupid
by both UCC and Doctors - hence the "death" linkage to Freud's big three themes
and Photo expression.
At 60 " - May/26/09 Reference to medics errors in a life threatening situation;
to dangers of strutting testosterone based virility.
E. The Start of Stu-Art Output Section :
"Communion " -
May/26/09 Reference to communion symbols of death of Christ; to the sheer
impact of the diagnosis of cancer; to the fading effect of even death in our
memories and the need to be reminded.
"Four Things We Need - 1 - Daily Bread " - May/26/09 Reference to rising financial costs for mere survival; to world famine.
"Four Things We Need - 2 - Forgiveness" - May/26/09Reference t life being terminal.
"Four Things We Need - 4 - Deliverance From Evil " - May/26/09 Reference to deadly evil in diagnosis; to examples of such evil great and small.
Death" - May/27/09 Reference t to earlier brush with death. Death (both literal
and to society's ways) once faced is less difficult a second time.
"Second Careers" - May/28/09 Reference t life grinding to an end; to more years to live now which gives rise to second careers.
"Acceptance" - May/28/09 Reference to issues relating to short duration of life; to "junk from the grave'; to terminal cancer.
On Keeping On" - May/30/09 Reference to YouTube guy withering away of cancer;
to the death of my father and a friend's father; to pilot error in airplanes;
to pre-grief and stages of grief; to fund raising for cancer research; to cyclical
depletions of energy; to hating the road one is on bring ing death; to being
too busy so forget to die.
"Victory Lap" - May/30/09 Reference to this collection of poems; to how to die; to cyclical rounds of tests can be laps of victory.
" 'How Then
Will Jesus Get Down?' " - May/31/09 Reference to Christ's ascension after
death and resurrection.
The Spirit" - May/31/09 Reference t cancer fund raising; to Christ's crucifixion.
Your Spirit" - May/31/09 Reference to strife (including death) people experience
in life; to grief at departure from locations of peace.
"Third Layer" -
May/31/09 Reference to last supper before Jesus was killed; to removal of
livelihood as being execution today; to suppressed trauma being linked to cancer;
to Freud's big three themes; to art therapy giving peace.
"Fifty-one Percent" - June/1/09 Reference t a level of activity is indicative of life (and vice versa); to homicide course re: writing; to moping around waiting for the end of life.
From Pain" - June/2/09 Reference to rural life in urban death context; to
coming night of death; to good/grace out of troubled times.
"The Painter" - June/5/09 Reference t soldiers dying that others might live; to war heroes.
"John" - June/5/09 Reference
to a pre-diseased brother,John, recalled vividly in a dream which refreshed memories
of him, as will some day happen regarding us. Reference to suppressing pain also
suppresses the good parts; to there being a lung connection between John and
"The Choice" -
June/6/09 No interest in desert life- trying to drag life out of an inhospitable
situation but also not just luxuriating in a better context.
"Who Is This
Man?" - June/7/09 Reference to Elisha raising a boy from premature death.
Gone" - June/7/09 Reference to Baptism as being burial for those who have
died to the world and raised to life with christ.
"Location's False Promise" - June/7/09 Reference t how we notice life's twists and turns at the end of life.
"The Antidote" -
June/13/09 Reference t young up and coming people pushing older ones to their
graves; to having a cushy home on the blood of others; to adam and eve's deaths
and our pushing the environment to the brink.
"If I Could Stay Away " - June/16/09 Reference to doctors acting like circus clowns in the context of potentially terminal disease.
"The Picture Window " - June/18/09 Reference t Freud's big three themes; to abortion choice; to approaching death; to stress-bomb diffused.
Use " - June/19/09 Reference to wring more out of cancer than it wrings out
of you; Stu's stress package breaking out through weak link; to costs except
for funeral all in now; to seeing the time-bomb wiring up close and personal;
to start of Freud's three big themes in me getting off course; to interface between
Freud's big three and TCK aspect; to apostolic task interface with Big three
and TCK aspect - the realignment of culture and people so power and light can
be turned on other wise Freud's big three do get twisted out of shape; to widespread
TCK experience of people and need to "come home"; to high cost to find this aspect
and the TCK the apostolic ministry insight.
"Redemption " - June/23/09 Reference to Freud's big three; to premature dealing with death by kids.
F. Concluding Poem of Volume I
" 'The Play's
The Thing' " - June/25/09 Context of children's cancer ward; learning how
to die/live. Reference t those in audience dying as well; to possible death of
the director; to living in the present and preparing for our own not being there.
From Conclusion Section (# 172-209):
" 2-4-6-8 " - July/4/09 Reflection on the clash between Scottish and Cree outlooks on life in regards to proactive striving, death being the result of wars and strife often.
" The Quarterback " - July/10/09Inspiration gained by another person facing MS to move on in life.
" 'The Triumph Of Hope Over Reality' " - July/12/09Reflectin on an incident when reading the story of the death of John the Baptist in church.
Week Now Since His Quiet Laugh " - July/17/09 Visit to referring doctor.
Need to keep stress down in relation to recurrence of cancer. Reference to the deadly "bad boy" cancer cells and their effect in us.
You Had Fifty Days To Live " - July/17/09 Using the image of counting the
50 days an "Omar" (bushel) of barley grew from Passover to Pentecost, the
question is raised as to what one could grow in one's life in such a period
if that was all that remained of life.
Choice " - July/19/09 Use of media in creating healthy communities in which
to grow, and the power of choice of response which cannot be removed from us.
Reference to life threats on prophetic voices of any kind.
" The Snap Of Others' Work " - July/22/09 Dropping stress (deadly in relation to cancer) by stopping inappropriate involvement in other people's lives.
Eyes " - July/24/09 Honesty whether in facing death or living relationships
in community is refreshing and health giving.
" The Runner " - July/24/09 Reference to the encouraging effects of a support group in recovery from cancer.
Serve" - July/24/09 The powerful effects of (often unseen) people who help
in recovery of health and facing of death by linking people together for mutual support.
"Pandemic Of Silence" - July/26/09 Dream of pandemic with handful of survivors raises questions of forming new future life for humanity, within which are implications for our smaller scale life after cancer.
In Economics" - July/26/09 Illness is not the only way people can die. Prayer for those engaged in the economic system
, especially our children, who often live beyond our day to day presence in the
"Isaiah's Band" - July/26/09 The clash of cultures within a Canadian church. Death today is done through removal of one's means of earning a living.
"Making Peace" - July/26/09 A visit to the peace gardens with its new addition of the material from ground zero of World Trade center attack. The clash of cultures, the inter-gift/culture allergy, and the way peace is
made and maintained.
Grace" - July/26/09 A couple crosses cultures to build orphanages in Kenya
as an expression of their faith in light of the pandemic of AIDS there.
"Avocation" - July/31/09 The assistance gained in sorting out vocation from avocation in making community contributions (in this case a cross-cultural missions effort to save the lives of orphaned kids) within which one has no or little say, but works under another's direction.
"TGIS (Thank God It's Sunday)" - August/2/09 Shifts in the type of work bring exhaustion, especially out of one's strength areas, for which a day off each week is welcome relief, and one which extends life.
Years" - August/2/09 A look back and forwards at the time of the fortieth
anniversary of our engagement, which has included facing death within the family.
New Bridge" - August/2/09 A reflection on the third anniversary of the
insight into my "Third Culture Kid" experience, and the cross-cultural / bridging
role that is emerging for myself out of that reality, at the time when Brandon
itself is getting a new road bridge. Reference to the conquest of the colonized New World.
Love Again" - August/2/09 A reflection on the welcome restoration of stressed
relationships after both sickness and extended period of stress in relationships
like marriage which seems to involve periods of both "better and worse" for
many of us "till death do us part".
"Without Constraint" - August/3/09 Reflection on the shortage of time for art for working people in relation to the shortage of time caused by Cancer. Reference to the life choices which emerge when cancer repriorizes life after recovery.
"First Job" - August/4/09 Reflection back to my first job and two sermons encouraging me to move forward despite the past. Reference to ths shortness of life.
" A Creenglish Look At Kenya" -
August/8/09 Reflection on Kenya's orphan problem and the social side of
medicine writ large.
"A Change In Style" - August/6-9/09 Reflections on the source of income (without which death follows) in relation to types of ministry.
"What Is This Child's Name?" - August/10/09 Reflection on the death of one of the orphans in the project I was assisting.
Hope In Small Packages - August/11/09 Reflection on budgeting of limited money,time and energy within a larger skewed economic context, and the source of hope for small players within such a reality. Reference to the small package of life of a Kenyan child who died because of socially induced causes.
Two Languages Of Love - August/11/09 Reflection on whose love language gets used...that of the giver or the receiver. Reference to greeting cards used at times of death.
‘Map’ - The Code For ‘Books’ - August/13/09 Reflection on the meaning of "books" to me (its 'code'). Reference to aid in avoiding calamity.
Workman - August/14/09 A reflection on the code for tools work and call as
viewed cross culturally. Reference to our demise if we remain outside of interdependent
life with others.
August/14/09 As life resumes after the cancer scare, a poetic reflection on the approaching third anniversary of
realization I am a TCK, with implications for my writing.
"The Deep Longing Of My Soul" - August/15/09 A poem reflecting on initial priorities after brush with death - the First Nations Learning style project emerges.
The Rear-View Mirror" - August/15/09 Reflection on inter dependant gifts
and the power of an earlier project in getting people on with their lives. Reference to new priority after brush with death.
"Our Goodbyes" - August/16/09 Reflection on losses due to the breakups of friends. Not all losses are medical, but often take place amidst our own medical journey of loss - life goes on. Reference to afterlife.
- Letting Go" - August/16/09 Habdalah is the ceremony ending the day of
rest each week, and the start of a new week for Jews. A reflection on the ending
of holidays and fresh start to a new work year, and my need for marking all transitions.
"The Butterfly" - August/18/09 The concluding poem of this set of poems. Reflection on the transformation I have felt in myself through this journey compared to the actual experience of death and resurrection, both spiritual and physical.