Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday Poem - After The Wake by Jennifer Compton

After The Wake

Just us left
some were in the kitchen washing dishes
someone swept
tables were stacked
chairs chocked into teetering towers
the baked meats wrapped
the rubbish bagged
all set square
then someone said
a photo of you four
the children
and what a lucky mother to die
before any of us
we took hands
stood like a palisade
one of us quipped
we know what this photo is for
how we laughed
the one who had scanned the family album
for the funeral slide show had complained
how there were shocking gaps
no photo of her with this one or that
so now whichever of us went first
there would be a pic of all of us
holding on to each other's hands.

This brand new poem was dragged out of me by the editor of Qualm
who begged for a poem, and I had nothing. But my mother has just died and the death of a parent is always good for a poem or two so I managed to squeeze out After The Wake. Since then I have also written The Shock, but I haven't managed to pull the central poem of the experience into shape yet. That is going to take some time and some distance I think.


  1. Such a lovely poem, and so moving, thanks for sharing it :)

  2. Very moving. It took me ages to write about the death of my mother and then I wrote about it in practicalities as though I was trying to objectify it. I suppose writing about it is part of teh process of coming to terms with it.

  3. Jen, this brought tears to my eyes. When I saw the title on TP, I couldn't believe you'd written about it so soon - and then I clicked and there it was. So simple and so right. Nothing like a pesky editor to get poems out of one... Bravo you. Hugs.