Poetry competition CLOSED 4th February 2023 8:01pm
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Funeral: The Last Rites

poet Anonymous

Poetry Contest

Describe attending a funeral. The subject is open about the ritual, the ceremony and all the emotions tied to the loss. Write something new or post something you've already written. It can be based on a real life experience or fictional.
I heard somewhere, Funerals are for the living, not the departed. They help us to come together and process the loss. One thing about me is, though I have experienced loss, I have never attended a funeral. Perhaps you can give me and everyone your personal perspective on it.

poet Anonymous

The Raven’s Shrill, The Poet’s Echo

“In the company of imageries within my castle,
I voice for everyone my next poetic verse.
All the empty halls listen and echo my passion,
And in darkly rich verse I immerse.”

Through the courtyard, pulls up a hearse,
Beneath the arms of stone archways and hideous gargoyles –
All the ravens disperse.
The blood veining through these stone figureheads’ boils.

The coffin-conveyance disordered the black-wolfs of the court;
Heavenly light shot into their black eyes
And deep, rasping calls followed in retort.
They soon returned with their harsh, grating reprise.

Trespassers! The black flock surmised.
Their shrill shadowed the echo through these hollow halls,
The dark-suited burial conveyance led amiss of a poet’s demise.
Still, the poet’s verse calls.

Paths such as these treaded the dead poet’s caretakers,
Like old footpaths in the snow.
They foresaw a ghastly corpse, still, as soundless as open acres.
Little did they know…

The sullen ravens protested the bearer’s presence.
The pain in their knocking hearts,
As the blizzardy gusts of winter’s menace,
The black flock hovered the hearse in trepidation, till it departs.    

A melancholic tune radiated throughout the halls of the castle,
Thought the ravens it was time for their poet to depart
And behind him, they would follow his trail of light.
Lo! Then in place of squinted, teary eyes, they widely part!

Little did they know…
poet Anonymous


I did not know you were really dead  
or, could not bring myself to believe  
till I saw that chap, baring his head,  
bowing you past, and me, leave to grieve.
poet Anonymous

The Rattling Cortege

She had watched, and often,
death's rattling cortege,
visioned her own going, softer,
in a more romantic age,
and, as a stranger in the chapel,
her neighbors remarked,
" How strange, & what a marvel,
her face, unblemished, unmarked "
As the smoke from the long black chimney
(as they sang of remembrance and love)
rose, fusing her fuming body,
with the clouds, above.
poet Anonymous

Last season

If the lips are red,
these hands are so white,
on my hands.
In the village where I was raised
there was no tree
neither nuts… because I craved
myself from time to time.

In the village where I was raised
there was no wheat field.
In the village where I was raised
from the north the wind left
a dryness my chapped lips.

Do I remember some boyfriends I had?

I wonder what they were like.
I dreamed that they changed a bit,
not the same as always.

Now they are a name in the books,
Last names in parentheses.
Their birth and death years
at the bottom of the page,
or maybe it's from when
they were edited.

A list of names in the books.
Like birds in agony
of death within my hand.
In parentheses, a dash.
Everything that was is there.
The hopes, the fears,
the teas, the joys.

Everything that was is there.
Now they remain inside…
As prisoners of these books.
In these traits they still live!
One cannot go back.
One can just kill people
inside their cells.

Friends died
without my permission.
I salute the poets
recently translated
for our language.
I must enjoy this winter
melting before me.

There are dark birds
that wrangle in the eater.
All this shiny snow...
It circles the street in drains,
Rivers of broken hearts...

poet Anonymous

A Ritual Goodbye

Today we gather
family and friends
laying you to rest
we say our amens

A service for
those left behind
in our mourning
grief assigned

Suffering our loss
and death’s cyclone
in connection
we are not alone

Sorrow and pain
shared emotion
as we profess
a common devotion

A celebration of you
fond recollections
sharing memories
collective affections

In this ritual
we say our goodbyes
honouring your soul
as it soars and flies
poet Anonymous

At The Funeral

You stayed too long
in your town of
narrow streets, broken dreams
when all the great left before their time
searching for meaning
in rain and desert wind
crossing the crisscross
scars of the heart.

The morning aged, perfunctorily
snowing unexpectedly
seven years of oblivious divinity
sweeping the earth with silence
past remembrance and burnt flowers
reading your obituary:
Overindulgence of Passion

The painted women
came to your funeral
dressed in dusk and perfume
weeping at your feet
rubbing sweet oil
on your skin
with plumes of myrrh
sifting rosary
seventy times seven

rippled in waves of mourning veil
brushing against my cheek
numb in nothingness
standing like a pillar of salt
with a bouquet of poetry
in a room blanketed
with white dust

It’s late-
 too late..
I can’t break-
away from you
wanting to wreak
all that is beautiful

Your lips
pale, cold
as marble stone
under my fingertip
I slid a copper penny
safe journey
to aging voices
vespers of whispers
around me.

Sleep now.. Love
You have carved the eternal peace
in dreams and fevers
around my rib cage
festooning my heart

We have already said
too much in this lifetime.

poet Anonymous

I don’t like to call it a wake

In truth, you’d already gone
still sketching in a chair  
across the blank sheets  
of an empty bedroom
pencil sharp
illustrating the heaven  
that existed in your mind.  
I knew the geometry of your heart  
even then; I knew the rare colours  
of your eyes as carelessly shaded  
as stained glass pouring down  
from kaleidoscopic windows  
in a crowded church  
the hushed reverie  
of silk-cut flowers delicate  
on an oak lid, how petals  
reminded me of our days,
fragile and fleeting.  
There were curled sandwiches  
gathered on paper plates  
full of everything, healing    
the nothing felt standing  
above that void.  
I ate the ground  
those wounds.
poet Anonymous

None of this is fair

Unlike the meticulous planning of a wedding, an obituary serves as the invitations and a few phone calls procures essentials for an interment
Within days the accommodations are booked, the staff ready, the guest of honor prepared, and the room decorated  
Memorial cards printed, limos waxed, and even the reception room is filled with fare for those invited to feast
The sounds are discrete at a funeral ceremony, a library silence, an inherent rule of respect I suppose
Friends, families and acquaintances hurt along side you. “I’m sorry for your loss” is offered from those less damaged, a last minute artificial cheese platter of sentiment grabbed off the generic gift shelf, but an offering none the less
Everyone is afraid and all ‘who enters’ the room sees the lifelessness, feels the inevitability. The parlor, the scent, the casket, the hearse, the formalities, are all pre defined mechanisms of etiquette to keep you propelling through the absoluteness of grief
Imagine what you want in this hallowed hall. Break down, or laugh, disclose and presume unhinged theories, become a child again. “It’s ok.” Despite the stillness, you are not sanctioned to behave ordinarily.  
The flowers are not typical, their aroma is omniscient of an air freshener, an over-powering fragrance designed to redirect your mind from questioning your senses. The arranged buds represent the artistry of life, the cut stems cements the knowledge of death; everything in this reception room is delicately dead.  
These cloned arrangements are beacons of sorrow, labeled with identity banners so everyone has something else to converse about
Final judgments are offered, the hair, the makeup, she looks good, he is at peace now, no one knows what the hell to say
Looking past the funeral sticker on the windshield during the dreaded procession to the grave site, a man waters his lawn, not noticing the clouds and children ride bikes full of energy and happiness. Maybe they will live forever. Perhaps there is a quantum tear in the universe. Yes, this must be some crazy nightmare, and death will never happen again, to anyone  
Secretly, I desire to jump out of the car and help the man water his lawn  
In the back of the hearse flowers secured to metal arbors and arranged like wreaths should be released, their seeds snatched by birds and distributed into fields; at least give them a chance for more life
Tomorrow I will become a research scientist and discover the cure for aging, “No” I will discover an elixir for immortality; I tell myself  
But for now, I transfer my thoughts and dwell on the looming pain, my loved one will be missed and in reality, none of this is fair
Hugs, tight squeezes, hands held, tissues soaked to capacity, shared tears and kisses among strangers are exchanged, because funeral germs are safe  
I look at all the sad faces and I want happiness in spite of the loss. I want music to uplift everyone out of this group mourning for there will be bereavement anyway; I want
Eventually the rain will give way to sunshine, an intricate wedding invitation will be sent, bouquets of flowers held, photographed and saved as mementos existing forever in photo albums
Hugs and kisses with flourishing wedding germs will be reciprocated and thoughts about life and the future will be shared and the music will be playing
poet Anonymous

Military Funeral for a Drag Queen

What are funerals...
But the declaration of the end
Hide away those metal beads
And those beautiful silk cheetah shirts
Hide the leather skirts, dont forget the heels
The beaded masks and rainbow trucker hat
Park that acid trip ford truck out back
We burry him in full military apparel
In his coffin a bare face without his grin
Metals glimmering in that mild light
Images that capture his beautiful life
Photos only showing him with his trucks
Those trucker hats holding his ponytail
Leather jacket and blue jeaned man
The only hint of queer in those dangling earrings
But never in his silks and high heels
That was for family and the drunks at the bar
He was beautiful and domineering in life
But so very small and frail in his death
Bury him as a military man as he deserves
Remember the drag queen he was
poet Anonymous

on the road to Damascus

memories of faith in shades of pain
desolate was the golden streets on which we gambled our fate
daring each other into bravery
lending our voices to a choir of angels
who look but never saw beauty weep
bitterness crept upon the dawning of understanding
feeding the fire in our souls
clashing with midnight's dust
it was our first and last night together, how were we to know
you cried I pretended not to see
overcome by the moment  
I swear a vow to always honor you
I wept upon the knowledge I had loved you times two forevers
silence cut the glory with jealousy
I shine in my innocense
believing we could always be
you were cut from my side with a word
sent assassin that bated your valor
I lay down my weapons, then
and the all the angels cried
stars crash to the ground in brotherhood  
for the love of our immortal bond
lay your soul down in mine
and keep your vow to heaven no more  
poet Anonymous

Four of Spades

Come rot with me
The philosophy
of atrocity

You smite the children to make the mother bleed
Down on her knees
Won't hear her pleas
Merciful fate
Where do I heed
While you splinter your creed
Marked trilogy
You seal their essence in virginity
You spared your seed
Sophistic mimicry
Paled and rest
Arms crossed
Tense chest
You killed yourself to avoid arrest
You left the family with a mess
Redress the tailor, morrow less

In the church, their spirits met
Combine the mourners
Hallow set
Seats row on row
Pine on mesh
Weak in the knees
Their tears are fresh
Secure life's promise
In a cleansing prayer
Centre them darlin', fill the air
With melodic honour
With echo and hum
Never forgetting their presence
Or where they came from

The hell I see
Unrequited love; lay waste to Autumn's past
poet Anonymous

Perfect weather

We stood around you
as cold as tomb stones,
each epitaph etched on our ribs.
The anger of death rolled
heavy northern clouds,
that hissed hailstones
onto black polished shoes.

I didn't recognise your words,
the service spoke of a child
I had never met,
still I offered them a piece of you
that they had never seen.
Your mother had lipstick on her teeth
I held her warm gloved hand
as she thanked me for coming
and invited me for sandwiches
and tepid tea.

I drove the car home too fast,
annoyed at the weather
at you,
Julie said that she didn't want to die
so I slowed down
and decided not to cry.

poet Anonymous

The Cavity Impossible To Fill

"The most vicious of all species, the human is reddest in tooth and
manicured claw."
-- the countless animal organisms
on Beast Planet  

"Together let us mourn the gruesome death of one great ape,
since wailing might assist us to surmount our tragic loss,
each present mouth with disbelief in horror still agape,
the perished human willing none on Earth his dental floss --  
or yet a toothbrush, mouthwash, Waterpik, or stick of gum,
or even any access to expensive dental care,
and thus is each of us by grievous tooth decay quite glum,
as well as fainting straight of halitosis sans compare --  
while downing hosts of Hostess Twinkies man once mass produced,
along with Ding Dongs, Brownie Bites, and endless alcohol,
our Reason by stupidity and weakness is seduced,  
till full enthralled by folly comes the paradisal fall --  
so during the reception as our last and final rite,
let each nonconscious quantum fu*k nonstop on getting tight."  
a dedication of Respect  
the Pain of the loss of manifold quanta --  
a vast waste yet impossible to process  
a revolving helios sonnet shakespearean satire menippean monologue on  
the universal tragedy of  the inevitable extinction of  
january, 2023 -- each corpse in the coffin  
full able at last to move past the approaching demise of  
poet Anonymous

For The Living

Vigil and Visitation
If you think of me at all, remember me fondly. Look upon our time together in cherished snippets that will bring you joy and peace. Hail Mary, full of grace…

Funeral Liturgy
Life has not ended my love.
I’m with you everyday in every action. Weep not for me, but carry forward the love we shared. We will see each other once again.
Our Father, who art in heaven…

In final farewell, know I am laid to rest in divine comfort. Wrapped in a love pure and eternal. Go in peace to live your lives in joy.
Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…
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