Remembrance Poems

A Poem From Donald

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010


By Donald Rubin




heart of a dead man beat



Upon whose head there rests a heart




Death spoke

all that will be

what once it was


Upon the death of the dustless rise

On whose back rests all surmise



who not entirely



and came and went again

and then


Then there was

or was it then


he or she



or was it when

was it when


went through its emporium

Was it then

Or was it


She spoke

all that will be

what once I was

And              then





and went and came again

And then


Originally published in the Oglethorpe Literary Magazine in 1955-56.

A Poem From Ashley Makar

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Chez le Bon Dieu
(for Aunt Elene)

You came, a voice over my prayers

to be kind to “Soie gentille avec tout le monde.”

French was our secret lingua franca:

Bourgeois girls in Upper Egypt

went to Franciscan schools before Nasser’s coup,

and upper-middle class girls in Alabama

learned their un, deux, trois in private school.

Showing me the gold bracelets you were saving

for my marriage,

sneaking me the chocolates you brought all the way

from Alexandria,

you’d say, “ne dis pas a lui!”

Don’t tell him, (your brother, my father,

who learned the Queen’s English and every valve

in the heart so well he made it

to private practice in America.

He was too busy in the language of arteries

to teach me to speak to you in Arabic.)

“Au nom du Bon Dieu?!” you’d gasp (as if through your eyes),

In the name of the Lord, I’d promise.

I did not pray that God take you, when you asked

only of me, “Prie que le Bon Dieu me prend bientot, Cherie…

Seulement, soie gentille avec…”

After your brain died, I prayed back:

“Au revoir, chez le Bon Dieu,”

the way only you taught only me

to say heaven.

A Poem From Ashley Makar

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Cavafy’s Circle

The day your brain stopped breathing

at the Greek hospital in Alexandria,

I read that Cavafy lost his voice

in tracheotomy, that he refused

communion until dying with

just the heaving will

to draw last breath:

full-stop center of

a circle on a page.

A Poem From Ashley Makar

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Day of the Dead

We speak our dead here, voices prayed back

to us praying “as it is in heaven”—

fragment of first poetry lodged in my throat

before I learned the prayer as the Lord’s,

it was ours.

I try to make, do “as it is,” close as I can to you and me,

child tongue still stumbling over the syllables towards heaven.

N.B. A version of this poem was published on

A Poem From In Another Room

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

In another room,

your flowers,

the narcotic bouquet,

bow across

a glazed sheet.

A Poem From rachel harriet

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Oh, my beautiful boy,

last words she spoke today.

what will be her last words tomorrow

shut up!

you’re a pain in the ass!

Perhaps, “I love you”.

A Poem From Anonymous

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

I don’t remember my birth

and I doubt I will remember my death

but having lived

I remember all my dyings

that lead me to the end

of these days on

the skin of the planet

A Poem From Jeanne Denney

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

And when we await at death’s door

asking for deliverance

may we be reminded of all that has brought us here

kemp or unkempt, floundering, gasping, reaching out

the world has never known humans that did not

work on this boundary meeting all that we have created

and so we pass, each breath each day

meeting and denying all that will come

all that has passed before

A Poem From Rob David

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Fear not that which you do

for others have feared the worse.

Love not that which you want

for others have run that course.

Hate not that which offends

for others have hated with great force.

Yet embrace the end for you unique

for others have yet only remorse.

A Poem From Bryce

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Where are you

behind that endless

wall of water,

impairing the love for you

to flow freely

through my body to yours.

Illusions are they all

who knows?

The wall keeps you


appearing only

to torment.