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Oh bloodless lucid world, O my life
I release you to the bright vapours!
Let the air slip on my voice tonight

Maurya Simon ~ Last word

Hello Poets one and all – As we are nearing our summer break, it means a hiatus, a (musical) rest, and dare I say – a silence in the foundry of our wordsmithing!

My thoughts then turned to consider the value of words– how we poets and writers love, collect and utilize them and yet Pauli  Murray’s “Words” surely apply in the day to day :-
“We are spendthrifts with words,
We squander them,
Toss them like pennies in the air–
Arrogant words,
Angry words,
Cruel words,
Comradely words,
Shy words tiptoeing from mouth to ear. 

But the slowly wrought words of love
and the thunderous words of heartbreak–
Those we hoard.”

And so those words that are spoken with the knowing last breath we might expect to be momentous, profound, insightful. Quite often they are mundane, sometimes witty though Dannie Abse doubts the validity of “Last Words

“…The last recorded words too
of real kings, real queens, all the famous dead,
are but pithy pretences, quotable fictions
composed by anonymous men decades later,
never with ready notebooks at the bed.

Most do not know who they are
when they die or where they are, country or town,
nor which hand on their brow. Some clapped-out actor may
imagine distant clapping, bow, but no real queen
will sigh, ‘Give me my robe, put on my crown…”

Even so I enjoyed William Matthews’ poem “Last Words” in which he gathers together some famous utterances:-

It wasn’t Oscar Wilde who said, “Die, my dear
doctor, that’s the last thing I shall do”
but Lord Palmerston.  Wilde said “Either this wall-

paper goes or I do”. William Pitt said
“Oh my country, How I leave my country!”
or in an alternate version, “I think

I could eat one of Bellamy’s veal pies”
Everyone dies alone, according to
the tough guy swagger though none who made it

 into Bartlett’s did. Gather witnesses…

Now for today’s Poetics prompt….

….Select ONE phrase from these famous departing words

  • All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain” -Roy Batty, Blade Runner
  • My battery is low and it’s getting dark” – Mars rover ‘Opportunity’
  • A certain butterfly is already on the wing.” Vladimir Nabokov
  • I must go in for the fog is rising” Emily Dickinson
  • Ah! The times were good! It was I who was so unhappy”. Sophie Arnould, French operatic soprano
  • My anchor is well cast, and my ship, though weather-beaten, will outride the storm” Samuel Hopkins, theologian
  • “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.” Karl Marx

Then using your chosen phrase:-

  • Write a  ‘deathbed’ poem of your own imagination (time and place optional!)
  • It does not have to pertain to the author of your chosen words but can do
  • You could include backstory, personality, remembrances, other people present
  • Make it sad, funny, sudden, expected, personal or remote
  • read Billy Collins’ “Deathbeds” poem – it sets all sorts of scenes

Your poem may take any form and that includes a prose poem

OR (for those who like an extra challenge)

Write in elegiac stanzas i.e quatrains with the rhyme scheme ABAB written in iambic pentameter.

N.B Remember to cite the author of those last words if you use it within your poem or as title. Alternately you could cite it as epigraph

Once you have published your poem, add it to the Mr Linky below. Then go visiting other contributors  as that is half the enjoyment of our dVerse gatherings.