Shame


Is there shame in the shade,
in the depth by the wake of your gaze,
in candles unlit?

Once your words were like bees
besotted with bloom,
but your sun eclipsed for my crave
spinning gold from the straw.

I ask…

Is there shame in pulling blades
from flowers in pots by your grave?

[title not known] circa 1944-5 Wols (Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze) 1913-1951 Purchased 1986 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T04845

[title not known] circa 1944-5 Wols (Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze) 1913-1951 Purchased 1986 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T04845


A 55 for toads, traditionally we do not celebrate Halloween in Sweden, but all saints day. This is the day to go to our graves and put flowers, and light candles. Some of the words in this poem is inspired after reading Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy. Really inspiring poetry friends. I will also link this to Poetry Pantry tomorrow morning.

October 31, 2015

46 responses to “Shame

  1. beautiful words accompanied by beautiful art…thanks for the information regarding Halloween in Sweden…

  2. This is kind of eerie, considering what I’ve been up to this morning. It’s like you’ve been watching over my shoulder, even though it’s invisible. How did you know where I buried my shoulder blades?

    All that “sh” alliteration reminds me that my son just learned to say “shhhh” today. Cute, eh? I get it from every direction. It’s high time I minded, it seems.

    What a beautiful poem. I just love your work and so look forward to it each day.

  3. It is always difficult to make the mental transition of thinking of a person as alive, then dead. That is how I felt when I read this poem, a sadness of acceptance.

  4. There will be few people that do not still carry a shameful episode in their lives. Often unnecessarily too as the person you hurt may well have come out of it less troubled than you…glad to be rid of you…or me perhaps!

  5. For some reason the spinning gold made me think of Rumpelstiltskin – you’ve created such an emotive poem…reflective..and i think the answer to the rhetorical question posed (for me at least) would be no…and Carol Ann Duffy is a formidable poet and person…

  6. This is beautiful in cadence, allusion and tone Bjorn–grief ritualized becomes a dance, and yet is still no less sorrowful. Thanks for your words about Sweden. My grandmother(born near Gothenburg) whom I wrote about, never failed to take us to the cemetery to plant geraniums in the spring, to water them all summer, and to take them up after the first freeze, on the graves of all her relations. One of my early memories is of toddling off to the hydrant with an old coffee can for water. I find your title perfect here. We are often abashed to be the one still alive, I think.

  7. a moving poem in its own quiet way.
    we Chinese have a similar ritual over here, called qing ming, usually a month after the lunar new year. the last lines remind me of the activity when we remove weeds around the graves when we visit.

  8. How beautiful. Such rhetoric, such diction! You call the poem “shame,” but how can loss be shame, how can continued remembrance go there? Enjoy the joy, I say to the narrator,, but go ahead and live the questions until they resolve. Should you still be alive? My answer is yes, but only if fully alive. Beautiful. I felt this poem in my belly.

  9. The last lines gave me pause. A couple of weeks ago, I visited my father’s and my grandparent’s graves. I had put large pots of hydrangeas on them to season so I could plant in the soil in the spring. One of the pots was filled with wild grass. It took me a good 20 minutes pulling the (grass) blades from the pot. I thought of them gone for so long now but still, so here. They are buried in a small church yard out in the country. Bees were humming on the wild clover growing on and between the graves and the magnolias were in bloom. So different now with brown grass and fading leaves. The acceptance s the hard part. I do fine unitl I go back to visit. Very poignant poem – and perfect for All Saints Day.

  10. Relationships are so complicated and thus, after death, those who remain (if they are empathetic, introspective loving souls|) usually feel some twinges of guilt and shame over what they could have done differently when they had the chance. This piece speaks to that elusive sense of shame, with tender poignancy.

  11. The poem is really quite smoothly written. The “I ask” breaks it up nicely. I feel the departed really know our heart – our sorrow, our short comings – for they see the face of God – and are filled with that “all knowing” … something we have yet to feel and experience. So, I guess we feel shame, but I like to think we are forgiven…

  12. TYour use of language is beautiful and the feeling poignant. There is depth of sorrow and connection beyond this life in All Saint’s Day traditions and in your work..

  13. I love the questions. They say so much about the behavior of many culture towards the dead. Those “candles unlit”, so many words growing cold… and even die inside us because some might think that is not proper to speak to those who are no longer there.

  14. A haunting piece (no pun intended). I love particularly:
    Once your words were like bees
    besotted with bloom,

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