If you couldn’t make it to the ‘Poetry at End of Life’ workshops earlier this month don’t worry. We’ll be putting them on again as part of the suite of workshops on death and dying that Kinship Ritual offers. Meanwhile some poetry highlights, and a snippet of what we shared.

Beloved poems

Everyone brought a poem. Some of the books were worn and treasured and falling apart.

So a great mix of poems:

Denise Levertov The Avowal

Louis MacNeice Fanfare for the Makers

Wallace Stevens Departmental … hilarious! (sorry I can’t find it online)

Mary Oliver When Death Comes

… and a poem from an old and unique book, and a poem someone had written, and number of poems by heart.

Being read to is a wonderful ritual. Can you read it again please?

How we die

The poem most hotly discussed in the workshops? You guessed it … Do not go gentle into that good night. Wonderfully the person who brought it to one session was Welsh (or part Welsh!).

People had a range of views on this poem:

Don’t read that to me when I’m dying! It expresses everything that’s wrong about our culture’s attitude to death and dying.

It’s a passionate poem – it invites us to think about life and death with passion.

Thomas could not let his father go. He’s talking about himself.

Always old, always new

I forgot to mention that someone brought Leonard Cohen’s ‘Book of Longing‘. I went and reread it afterwards. What about these lines?

And death is old
But it’s always new
I freeze with fear
And I’m there for you

I see it clear
I always knew
It was never me
I was there for you

I was there for you
My darling one
And by your law
It all was done

Don’t ask me how
I know it’s true
I get it now
I was there for you

Poetry at end of life on Dying to Know Day (D2K Day)

Such rich themes, such wonderful people. Make sure you get along when I hold the workshop in August for D2K Day! You might receive a gift like this one – five lines of poetry that Anne gave to Nicky at the end of a great morning.

Poetry at end of life gift