The Poets

June 30, 2011

When I Depart

What last dear sight will with me leave
What image at my death
What touch, what taste, what sound will cleave
To me with my last breath

Will I smell loam some summer day
Before I take my leave
Or will I lay aside this clay
On some cold winter’s eve

Will twilight cut through autumn skies
When darkness blots my day
Will spring toss blossoms, roses rise
When I am called away

Perhaps the dark will chase the light
Of yonder azure skies
Or mighty hang the sun there bright
When last I close my eyes

Think not that these have weighed on me
These thoughts are ever light
But still, I ask, what will I see
When in the throes of night


Of the Poem (Backgound, Parameters, and a Side Note):


Dreadful though it may seem, the fact is we will all experience dying one day.

Often, even as a kid, I would wonder what exactly I would undergo my last day here- what sounds there would be, what tastes or smells, what I would hear or see. I used to wonder if I’d draw my last breath in the winter or some other season; if it would be day or night; if friends and other loved ones would be around, or if I’d be alone.

For some reason these questions emerged in my mind recently and I thought I’d put them to verse … hence the poem. Please, let me know how you like it.


Stanza: The poem consists of five quatrains structured very much so in the form of a ballad.

Meter: The first and third line of each stanza revolve around a tetrameter (i.e. 8 syllables per line), and the second and fourth are trimeters (i.e. 6 syllables per line).

Rhyme Scheme: The rhyme scheme, per stanza, is abab*

Side Note:

Notice that the end-rhyme of the first line of each stanza constitutes the end-rhyme of the second line of the following stanza (e.g. the word ‘leave’ of line one is repeated in line six). I did this intentionally, just for the heck of it. * So, technically, the rhyme scheme is: abab caca dcdc eded fefe


Nancy said...

A macabre topic it may seem, but a lovely rendering.

I'm reminded of the Mercy Me song "I Can Only Imagine" - it being a pondering of what it will be like in Heaven to experience the Glory of God and yours being a musing of the surroundings of the actual departure from earth.

Beautifully done, John. I am again amazed at the depth AND the breadth of your talent. God has certainly blessed you, and us as well through your sharing.

I must also add, that I find it interesting that you seem to focus primarily on sight - given your current "day job." :-)

Kendra Lise said...

Breath-taking, John! You've depicted perfectly what many of us ponder and most of us can't put so eloquently.
This is one of my favorite poems of yours. It flows so beautifully!

Carla M. Turner said...

That's awesome! Ridiculous. ~Love it. You know your stuff. You should teach! Do you?...

P.J. said...

Wow, really good. You get me inspired to write more in meter patterns, rhyme (I don't think I will post more on my blog though, I will get more serious, or let's say be able to focus more on the writing - right now it's just write/post Jack Kerouac-style; I will try to use some breathing space).

lorely said... it...but what if in the throes of our night...nothing changes...nature remains the if we never were...have you thought of that as a possibility? hmmmm...? Lovely write.

Da other Part of 'Zo said...


You've done it again. This poem does, in fact, touch on what most humans will profess as taboo: speaking of death. The way you caressed the topic and manipulated it to sound so heavenly is beyond me. All I can do is sit back, get some popcorn, and take notes.

I love the fact that you take the reader on a journey. Please keep on producing because we WILL keep on consuming.

John W. May said...

Hey you guys, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving me such kind words- you may not realize this, but your encouragement is overwhelmingly motivating (fuel for my fire). Love you guys …

As of April 9th, 2010